Assume that you're thirsty after eating food that didn't taste salty while you were eating it. I know that MSG contains sodium.

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 says:

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:

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.

  • 3
    Ah, the humanity... MSG is the new gluten - everything with it is suddenly evil, despite the fact we've been consuming it safely for the past five thousand years. Keep in mind that western cuisine isn't strange to MSG at all: we've been just using it in a more stealthy form, which is well know to almost everyone - tomatoes! – T. Sar Apr 29 at 12:18
  • For anyone wanting to write an answer - here is a good starting point – T. Sar Apr 29 at 12:20
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    @T.Sar: MSG is the old gluten. I blame 1985's Remo Williams. ;-) – DevSolar Apr 29 at 13:39
  • Actually, the attacks on MSG go back much further than 1985. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 11 at 11:59

No direct evidence that I could find insofar, but MSG seems to enhance the subjective "saltiness" perception of food as well:

MSG+ soups were rated as more salty (F(1,34) = 26·26; P ≤ 0·001) and stronger tasting (F(1,34) = 12·57; P = 0·001) than MSG– soups

There was no direct question about thirst or a measure of water consumed thereafter in that study, so it's unclear just from that if enhanced subjective saltiness taste increased thirst (objectively or subjectively).

Interestingly however, because of this enhanced subjective saltiness, MSG has been proposed as a mean to reduce actual salt (NaCl) contents of food. The latter paper mentions that apparently any umami taste (enhancer) interacts with the (subjective) perception of saltiness.

The interactions between the sensations of umami and salty tastes were evaluated by Yamaguchi and Kimizuka (1979). The authors verified that some intensification of the salty taste occurs when umami substances are present. The main impact is the increase in salivary secretion, smoothness and continuity of the flavor in the mouth. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms of the gustative reception are not clear and need more investigation (Chaudhari & Roper, 2010).

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