A Century After Umami’s Discovery, Its Benefits Continue to Expand

By July 1, 2018 August 31st, 2018 News

Umami Benefits Research – Appetite Control and Sodium Reduction Benefits – Presented at 7th Asian Congress of Dietetics

TOKYO (July 2018) – Umami, known as the savory taste, was discovered more than a century ago, yet recent research continues to document the many benefits of umami. Currently underway is a year-long recognition of umami’s 110th anniversary since its extraordinary discovery in 1908.

At one event this year, participants at the Asian Congress of Dietetics in Hong Kong discussed this latest umami benefits research. The unique benefits of umami, including umami’s dietary significance, were addressed during an Asian Congress of Dietetics (ACD) lunch symposium on Friday, July 6. More details here (pdf).

The symposium tied in directly to the theme of the 7th ACD, which was “The Rise of Nutrition and Dietetics in Asia.”

 Asian Congress of Dietetics Symposium on Umami Benefits

The principal speaker at the lunch symposium was Dr. Snigdha Misra, who is chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at International Medical University, in Malaysia. Dr. Snigdha presented her latest research demonstrating that umami improves the palatability of foods and stimulates appetite regulation, including the role of umami in supporting nutrition among the elderly. Dr. Snigdha also discussed how foods with umami seasonings are effective in reducing sodium intake and can help maintain normal blood pressure, especially among the elderly.

Dr. Snigdha noted, “The elderly face challenges in appetite due to decline in taste sensitivity. The addition of excessive sauces or dressings may make food appetizing, but could be detrimental to health due to the high sodium content. Umami enables food to be flavorful while lowering the sodium content of the food and stimulating the appetite.”

According to the International Glutamate Information Service, sponsor of the lunch symposium, “It is fitting that the Asian Congress of Dietetics this year focused on the rise of nutrition and dietetics in Asia. It was in Japan that 110 years ago Professor Kikunae Ikeda identified the ‘glutamic taste’ after isolating it from kelp broth. Dr. Ikeda was the first scientist to identify the unique properties of glutamate. He named the taste of glutamate ‘umami,’ which has a distinctive taste that is different from sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami today is widely recognized as one of the five basic tastes. Dr. Ikeda’s driving goal was to improve nutrition of the Japanese with his umami seasoning. He has been designated as one of Japan’s 10 greatest inventors for his discovery.”

The International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS) is a non-profit organization communicating science-based information about umami, glutamate, and monosodium glutamate (umami seasoning). For more information, contact Ana San Gabriel, IGIS secretariat, at glutamate.info@gmail.com.

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Asian Congress of Dietetics umami symposiumWatch this short video interview with the principal speaker at this umami symposium, Dr. Snigdha Misra, by IGIS Secretariat Ana San Gabriel, DVM, MS, about Dr. Snigdha’s presentation and her latest umami research.

Interview with Dr. Snigdha, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at International Medical University.