What is Umami?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

How we taste is important because taste, not smell, gives you the nutritional information of foods. Carbohydrates and sugars are sweet; minerals are salty and bitter; and proteins, fats and vitamins have no taste (except for Vitamin C). Umami, however, a proposed, yet contentious new taste type, corresponds to a taste for glutamate, a chemical that is derived from the breakdown of proteins. Umami might explain why steaks aged for a long time are tastier than lesser-aged ones.

In general we tend to prefer sweet and salty to sour and bitter, a note that sends a signal to the brain that a food may contain acids or toxins.

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