Review looks at variety of sodium reduction strategies available to the food industry

Amanda Gerla

In their review, researchers from the University of Illinois (U of I) College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences found that while a necessary micronutrient in a healthy, balanced diet, average sodium consumption among US adults exceeds 3,000 to 3,500mg per day.

“Sodium overconsumption is a huge health concern, and the FDA has recommended sodium reduction in food since the 1980s, but we haven’t succeeded yet. While the unit volume of salt in the food supply has not increased, the amount of sodium consumption has gone up, because we just consume a lot of food,”​ said co-author of the study Soo-Yeun Lee, professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at U of I.

And many consumers are not making efforts to reduce their sodium intake even when aware of the negative health impacts a diet high in sodium can have. A recent survey​​ of 7,090 respondents conducted by MSG supplier Ajinomoto found that while 64% of consumers know that eating too much sodium is unhealthy, only 37% pay attention to how much sodium they’re consuming and an even greater number (83%) prioritize taste with 55% of respondent agreeing with the statement that low-sodium food is tasteless.

 More than 70% of sodium intake comes from processed and packaged foods, primarily cured meats, bread, cheese, and soups due to the favorable sensorial and functional properties salt provides to products, noted researchers,  who review a wide scope of scientific literature covering sodium reduction strategies.

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