Though this booklet was downloaded from an MSG supporting website, it explains what monosodium glutamate is and how the umami taste can be created combing two or more products with the right chemical components. It is essential to know that the famous umami taste, one of the five elemental tastes together with sweet, salty, sour and bitter, cannot necessary be achieved by adding MSG into your food but can emerge when, say, bringing tomatoes and Parmigiano together.
The umami receptor is the primary means our bodies use to attract us to amino-acid building blocks. Curiously, while a mouse’s umami receptors respond to all twenty amino acids, the human umami receptor only respond well to the amino acids aspartate and glutamate – thus the intense umami sensation of MSG.
The animal proteins in our diet also contain those two amino acids, and trigger umami-receptor activity. Here I can not stop thinking of what if our umami-receptor gene is replaced with the mouse’s receptor gene? I bet all the other amino acids would taste like MSG, too!
The booklet gives you an example of L-glutamate containing natural foods as well as those with 5-ribonucleotides such as guanosine monophosphate (GMP) and inosine monophosphate (IMP). If you combine these two foods in your salad it will really taste yummy. Just as good as MSG.