Application of Umami Tastants for Sodium Reduction in Food: An Evidence Analysis Center Scoping Review

Published:August 05, 2022DOI:



      Sodium chloride intake far exceeds the guidelines from health and regulatory agencies. Acknowledging the positive relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure, interest in substances that assist in sodium reduction, while contributing a savory taste such as umami, are highly investigated.


      The objective of this scoping review was to identify and characterize studies investigating umami tastants on sodium reduction in food, with the goal of informing future research.


      A literature search was conducted in Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EBSCO PsycInfo, PROSPERO, National Institutes of Health RePORTER,, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and completed in March 2022 to identify peer-reviewed publications among adults (18 years and older) with interventions focusing on umami tastants to reduce sodium content.


      The literature search identified 52 studies, among which monosodium glutamate was the most studied umami tastant or food. Furthermore, most of the research on umami was represented through cross-sectional sensory studies to determine acceptability of foods with part of the original sodium chloride replaced with umami tastants. Only 1 study investigated the use of an umami tastant on overall daily sodium intake.


      To assist individuals in adhering to sodium reduction intake goals set forth by regulatory agencies and their guiding policies, these findings indicated that additional research on umami tastants, including systematic reviews and prospective trials, is warranted. In these prospective studies, both intermediate outcomes (ie, dietary pattern changes, daily dietary intake of sodium, and blood pressure) and hard outcomes (ie, incidence of hypertension or stroke, as well as cardiovascular composite outcomes) should be considered.


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      K. M. Crowe-White is an associate professor and department chair, Department of Human Nutrition, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.


      M. Baumler is an assistant professor and director of the didactic program in dietetics, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, St Catherine University, St Paul, MN.


      E. Gradwell is a lead evidence analyst and independent contractor, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Arvada, CO.


      V. Juturu is a senior manager, research & development, LONZA CHI Inc, Morristown, NJ.


      D. Angelo White is an associate professor of athletic training and sports medicine, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT.


      D. Handu is a senior scientific director, Evidence Analysis Center, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, IL.