WWW.truthinlabeling.org -- Home page

Umami: the "fifth taste" that MSG-sensitive people can't taste

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the glutamic acid in processed free glutamic acid (MSG) had a delicious, robust, easily identifiable taste of its own!  Even if the taste was unpleasant instead of delicious, it would still be wonderful.  Wonderful because at least the adults who are sensitive to MSG could easily identify the MSG in their food, and, if they chose to do so, they could refuse to eat it.  Just think of it. Infants and small children would still be at risk, but adult consumers could identify and avoid MSG. For adults, MSG-induced migraine headaches, tachycardia, skin rash, irritable bowels, seizures, depression, and all of the other MSG-induced maladies, might become nothing more than bad memories.  It surely would be wonderful.

Ajinomoto, Co., Inc. claims that their researchers have identified/isolated a "fifth taste."  The "fifth taste," they tell us, is the "taste" of processed free glutamic acid (MSG).  They call their alleged "fifth taste" umami.

Is there a "fifth taste?"  Is umami a fifth taste?  Early encyclopedia definitions of monosodium glutamate (which contains MSG, sodium, moisture, and not more than 1 per cent contaminants) claim that monosodium glutamate is an essentially tasteless substance. Most MSG-sensitive people claim that there is no taste to MSG.  Could it be, then, that umami is little more than a clever contrivance/device/public relations effort to draw attention away from the fact that MSG is toxic?

We started writing about umami years ago. We were already familiar with the research that the glutamate industry used to claim that umami was a fifth taste; and we knew that, with possible rare exception, all of that research had been funded by Ajinomoto, Co., Inc. and/or their friends and agents – some of whom we knew produced badly flawed research, and published only those studies approved by those who funded them.  We also had the impression (only an impression, not the results of a survey) that researchers outside of the direct employ or the indirect largess of the glutamate industry, found the idea of a fifth taste to be without merit.

We read and reread the information that we had gathered over the years, and searched for more.  And then it all came into focus. Umami is a clever contrivance/device/public relations effort to draw attention away from the fact that MSG is toxic.  Even with as much as we knew about the glutamate industry, their goals, and their tactics, we had been conned.  We had fallen into the umami trap -- using valuable time and energy thinking and writing about umami when we should have been warning people about the toxic effects of MSG.  But worse yet, we were going to ask our readers to waste their valuable time and energy thinking about the taste of umami instead of thinking about the toxic reactions caused by the MSG that is said to have the taste of umami. MSG causes brain lesions and endocrine disorders including gross obesity and reproductive disorders. MSG causes learning and behavior disorders, retinal degeneration, mood swings, seizures, migraine headache, irritable bowels, and more.  Fifth taste or not, MSG is toxic.

Is umami a fifth taste?  Ponder the question if you like.  But remember as you do so that fifth taste or not, umami is also a clever contrivance/device/public relations effort to draw attention away from the fact that MSG is toxic.   That’s our opinion.