Assume that you're thirsty after eating food that didn't taste salty while you were eating it.

Quora posts and https://msgdish.com/msg-problems-and-answers/ still impute the thirst to salt:

The Problem with MSG Problems - MSGdish

“Chinese food makes me so thirsty—it’s the MSG.” — Well, chances are, if you’re thirsty after eating Chinese food (or any food), you’ve probably consumed a good dose of sodium in the food or you’ve not had enough liquids recently. And, while MSG does contain sodium, it has only 1/3 the sodium of table salt. Chinese food contains a lot of high-sodium ingredients, including soy sauce, broths and other sauces. In fact, there are lots of foods (snack crackers and flavored chips, condiments, soups and sauces, commercially-prepared entrees) we eat all the time that typically contain much more salt than MSG. It’s time to stop blaming Chinese food (and MSG) for your thirst. Many Americans are chronically under-hydrated, and a salty meal of any ethnicity can send us all racing for water afterward.

But Hungry Onion

But since the food didn’t feel overly salty at the time, the only reason I can think of for the thirst is MSG.

and Wired.com impute the thirst to the MSG respectively:

The exact flavor MSG confers is difficult to describe, and many just say it increases the "taste intensity" of food. One thing is certain: It makes people thirsty, encouraging them to eat and drink more. Americans consume about 28,000 tons of MSG per year, according to one estimate reported in the June 1995 Journal of Environmental Health.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ MSG also contains sodium. So does soy sauce. The final "taste" depends on the food composition. Did you try a controlled experiment on your grandma? ;-) $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 17 '19 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Eating food makes you thirsty, digesting most macromolecules consumes water. $\endgroup$ – John May 29 '19 at 12:31

MSG (monosodium glutamate) can trigger thirst simply because it's a spice or because foods with MSG often contain other spices.

Relationships between human thirst, hunger, drinking, and feeding (PubMed, 2008)

Drinking may occur at meal times to facilitate chewing and swallowing, improve sensory stimulation and food palatability, reduce aversive sensations evoked by irritants such as spices, or in anticipation of physiological deprivation.

Thirst after ingestion large amounts of MSG is described here as part of Chinese restaurant syndrome; the mechanism involved is a transient release of acetylcholine:

symptoms experienced by individuals following intravenous MSG were similar to those experienced by individuals following intravenous acetylcholine (ACH).

So, does MSG trigger thirst? It may, but not necessary.

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