Effect of umami taste on pleasantness of low-salt soups during repeated testing

Physiol Behav. 1996 Sep;60(3):953-8. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(96)00098-4.


In the present study the effects of the umami substances, monosodium glutamate (0.2%) and 5'-ribonucleotides (0.05%), on the acceptance of low-salt soups in two groups of subjects, one with low-salt (n = 21) and the other with high-salt (n = 23) preferences were assessed. The groups were presented with soups containing 0.3% sodium chloride (low-salt group) and 0.5% sodium chloride (high-salt group). The subjects three times consumed leek-potato or minestrone soup with umami and three times the other soup without umami during six sessions over 5 weeks (sessions 2-7). In addition they tasted these and two other soups (lentil and mushroom soup) during sessions 1 and 8, during which they evaluated the pleasantness, taste intensity, and ideal saltiness of the soups with and without added umami. These ratings were higher when soups contained umami in both the low- and high-salt groups, and they remained higher regardless of which of the soups served for lunch contained umami. The low- and high-salt groups did not differ in pleasantness ratings, although the former rated the taste intensity of their soups higher and ideal saltiness closer to the ideal than did the latter. The pleasantness ratings of soups without umami were significantly lower at the end of the study than at the beginning, whereas those of soups with umami remained unchanged. These data suggest that the pleasantness of reduced-salt foods could be increased by addition of appropriate flavors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ribonucleotides / pharmacology*
  • Salts / pharmacology*
  • Sodium Glutamate / pharmacology*
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Ribonucleotides
  • Salts
  • Sodium Glutamate