Recent studies indicate that l-glutamate (l-Glu), abundant in many foods, is a stimulator of gastric vagal afferent nerves. The aim of the present study was to examine the possibility that l-Glu supplementation of a protein-rich liquid diet may prevent the incidence of diarrhoea during repetitive intra-gastric tube feeding. The gastric vagal afferent nerve recording of rats indicated that intra-gastric administration of a protein-rich liquid diet supplemented with 0·5 % monosodium glutamate enhanced the basal afferent activities seen with the protein-rich diet alone. The examination of the faeces showed that the addition of monosodium glutamate to the liquid diet significantly prevented the incidence of diarrhoea induced by repetitive gastric feeding. In conclusion, supplementation of an enteral liquid diet with free l-Glu may ameliorate diarrhoea during intra-gastric tube feeding by sending visceral glutamate information from the stomach to the brain.