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Background Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor-enhancer widely used as a food additive. However, its safe dietary concentration and its toxicity, including its possible implication in the recent metabolic syndrome pandemia, is still a controversial issue. Therefore, a deep knowledge of its effects upon regular dietary use is needed. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of chronic exposure to MSG on feeding behavior, abdominal fat, gastrointestinal motility, and cardiovascular function in rats. Methods Two groups of adult male Wistar rats were used: control and treated with MSG (4 g/L in drinking water) for 6 weeks. Different functional parameters were determined and the histological structure was analyzed in tissues of interest. Key Results Compared to control animals, chronic MSG increased water intake but did not modify food ingestion or body weight gain. Neither the abdominal fat volume nor the fat fraction, measured by magnetic resonance imaging, was modified by MSG. Monosodium glutamate did not alter general gastrointestinal motility, but significantly increased the colonic response to mechanical stimulation. It slightly reduced endothelium-dependent relaxation in aorta, without significantly modifying any other cardiovascular parameters. No significant histological alterations were detected in salivary glands, intestinal wall, aorta, heart, and kidney. Conclusions & Inferences Chronic treatment with MSG in the adult rat increased water intake. This supports its potential to improve acceptance of low-fat regimens and to increase hydration in the elderly and sportspeople, often at risk of dehydration. Changes in colonic contractility and cardiovascular function could have some long-term repercussions warranting further research.