Although considerable resources have been invested in public health campaigns to reduce sodium intake to improve health, dietary intake remains high and threatens safe eating habits.
Guidance from public health officials indicates that we should consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, while Americans average 3,400 mg per day. So what options are we left with? Instead of encouraging people in North America to reduce their salt intake, it has been suggested that reducing sodium levels in our food supply could be an important strategy.
A recent systematic scoping review of hundreds of studies has been conducted to investigate sodium reduction strategies such as sodium chloride removal or replacement, flavor modification, functional modification, and modification of the physical structure of foods. I was.
It’s important to be careful when removing or replacing salt because salt not only provides flavor, but also bakes, preserves, hardens, thickens, and retains moisture. Used in a variety of recipes and preparations.
Historically, sodium chloride salt was added to food as a safety measure to prevent spoilage. was one of the best ways to
Salt is an effective food safety tool because it reduces the water activity of food. The water activity of a food reflects the amount of unbound water available for microbial growth. Adding salt to food can also cause osmotic shock to microbial cells, causing them to lose water and thereby cause cell death. Salt is still widely used to prevent rapid spoilage, create an inhospitable environment for pathogens, and promote desirable microbial growth in a variety of fermented foods and other products.
Today, few foods can be preserved simply by adding salt. However, salt is resistant to spoilage and remains a commonly used ingredient for creating an environment unsuitable for the survival of pathogenic microorganisms in food. Reducing the amount does not raise food safety or spoilage concerns. Includes foods that remain inactive.
For other foods, reducing sodium content can increase food spoilage rates and the presence of pathogens. It may be necessary to ensure proper shelf life of the product and to prevent the growth of pathogens.
Foods that use sodium as a method of retarding microbial growth and survival present reconstitution challenges because altering sodium content alters water activity. Reformulation may involve many additional considerations related to pH and temperature. If such additional measures are not taken during sodium reduction efforts, the resulting product may not be stable. For example, in cured meats, reducing the sodium content allows rapid growth of lactic acid bacteria and action by proteolytic microbes, which can cause the product to spoil more quickly. Pathogen growth may be a concern. It therefore seems timely to develop principles to guide a salt reduction strategy.
Researchers from the Scoping Review delved into hundreds of studies and found that “the use of reduced salt is the most common method of reducing the sodium content of foods, followed by salt reduction, flavor modification, and physical modification.” , and functional changes.”
Successful sodium reduction needs to maintain consumer acceptance – determined by sensory analysis. However, there are not many studies on consumer taste evaluation.” There is almost certainly a large collection of effects of sodium reduction on technical aspects of food, but not all studies choose to include sensory analysis.
The research team recommends additional research focusing on consumer responses to each preferred salt reduction strategy. “Consumers have their own personal preferences and beliefs that guide their food consumption, so it is essential to understand which approach a large portion of the population will welcome.”
If food supply modification is the preferred approach to reduce sodium intake, consumer acceptance of revised recipes must also come to the fore for new food formulations to have a meaningful impact on public health. I have.
The research team is currently working to build this report through a process of interviewing experts to capture sodium reduction knowledge and strategies not available to the public.
The peer-reviewed articles cover articles, book chapters, and patents and are conducted by researchers in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In addition, IAFNS went on to develop a publicly available database containing scientific and strategic information on sodium reduction. The new database brings together evidence-based salt reduction strategies organized by specific categories relevant to the food sector.
We hope to join other public health organizations in spreading awareness of this sodium reduction resource that draws on our knowledge from over 277 studies.
Visit the IAFNS Sodium Reduction Science and Strategies Database here.
The research and database developed above were produced with the support of the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutritional Sciences (IAFNS). Details of this research are published in the Open Science Framework (see https://osf.io/szrxj/).
About the author: Dr. Wendellin Jones IAFNSa 501(c)(3) science-focused nonprofit organization, uniquely positioned to mobilize government, industry, and academia to advance, fund, and lead practical research is in