(ABC News) - You’re probably familiar with salty, sweet, bitter, and sour, but did you know there’s a fifth taste? It’s called umami, and a new study concludes that it has a unique effect on appetite.
Umami, which means “pleasant savory taste,” has been described as a mouth-watering, brothy, meaty sensation with a long-lasting aftertaste that balances the total flavor of a dish. Some chefs refer to umami as a flavor synergizer and, in the form of the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), it acts as a flavor enhancer.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the addition of MSG to soup stimulated appetite during eating, but also boosted post-meal satiety, which resulted in eating less later in the day. As an additive, MSG is something to avoid: research in the ’60s revealed that large amounts fed to mice destroyed nerve cells in the brain.
And people who are sensitive to large amounts of MSG may experience side effects ranging from headaches to trouble breathing. However, umami flavor also occurs naturally in several healthy foods. Here are five nutrient-rich umami options that may help you eat less, along with easy breezy ways to enjoy them.
**Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.
This article originally appeared on Health.com