Five ways to reduce sodium in the food industry: Research
Most of the excess sodium comes from processed and packaged foods, so the food industry and food scientists are constantly looking for ways to reduce sodium. A new paper from the University of Illinois provides a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on sodium reduction strategies in food production.
“Overconsumption of sodium is a major health concern, and the FDA has recommended reducing sodium in foods since the 1980s, but we have not been successful yet. Despite the unit volume of salt in the food supply,” Food intake did not increase, but sodium intake said Soo-Yeun Lee, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at U of I and a co-author of the paper.
We only need about 450 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, and the maximum recommended intake is 2,300 mg, or 1,500 mg for those at risk for high blood pressure. But average consumption exceeds 3,000 to 3,500 mg per day — or 50% to 100% above the upper limit. More than 70% of our sodium intake comes from processed and packaged foods, mainly meats, breads, cheeses and soups.
The researchers conducted a review that included original studies, literature reviews, book chapters, and patents on sodium reduction in food products. They focused on studies that included sensory data with human subjects because palatability is essential for consumer acceptance.
“In this review, we looked at different food systems. How you reduce salt in a solid system, such as topical application on snack foods, such as salted peanuts or potatoes salted fries, that would be very different from dipping in a food semi-solid like cheese or bread. We can reduce the salt but still bring it deliciousness,” Lee said.
“We hope this work will provide insight into many types of salt reduction technologies,” she added.
Researchers have identified Five key strategies: Salt reduction, salt substitute, flavor modifier, physical modification and functional modification.
“The most obvious one is removing salt from the formula, and that’s a key component of all strategies when sodium reduction is the goal,” said Aubrey Dunteman, PhD student at FSHN and lead author of the paper. .
But it is not possible to completely eliminate sodium because it has both organoleptic and functional properties. For example, it is used to preserve meat and make bread dough rise.
“Many of the studies we’ve looked at have combined more than one approach, such as removing salt with a salt substitute and flavor modifier or removing salt and physically modifying it,” says Dunteman. Many studies have used salt substitutes such as potassium chloride, calcium chloride, or other chloride or acid salts. However, these substitutes tend to have a bitter taste, so they are often used in combination with flavor modifiers, such as umami flavors or bitterness blockers.
“Another method is to physically transform. For example, you can encapsulate salt crystals, which changes the way salt is dissolved in the mouth. This can change the perception of allowable salinity. reduce the amount of sodium needed to create a salty taste.You can also create an uneven distribution of salt in a product which can further enhance the perceived salinity of the food product through the similarity of the salt. feedback on taste,” explains Dunteman.
“Ultimately, there’s a functional shift. For example, you could get rid of the sodium-based preservatives in processed meats, perhaps using the celery powder preservative instead of the sodium nitrate.”
Functional modification is less likely to be shown in the scoping assessment because this type of sodium reduction study typically does not incorporate the organoleptic component as the primary method of assessment, Dunteman noted.
If consumers want to reduce their salt intake, the best strategy is to cook for themselves and limit their consumption of processed and packaged foods. You can also wean yourself off salt with exercise, which is essentially a “salt diet”.
“If you’re cooking at home, you can intentionally reduce the salt and you’ll appreciate the reduction in salinity as time goes on. People can adjust to lower salt levels, but it’s a process.” learn and adapt.You can also add flavors Lee suggested.
“For example, if you’re a consumer of canned soup, you can buy a low-sodium version and add salt. You can then gradually modify the amount of salt you add, so you can make your own. make it palatable to your taste,” she noted.