Excessive sodium intake is harmful to health. It may result in serious diseases such as hypertension and can also cause cardiovascular disease and stroke. International nutrition guidelines recommend that sodium consumption need to be less than 5 grams per day.
According to many organizations such as WHO, the NHLBI, the USDA, Health Canada, the FSA in the United States, and from other countries, high sodium diet exhibit serious health risk for human being. However, it is complex to change consumption habits of people. Therefore, food industries need to play key role in reducing sodium content from their food. Number of food items need to be reformulated, as salt significantly changes properties of food.
Various ingredients are available as substitute to sodium chloride like hydrolysed vegetable proteins, aromas, yeast extract etc. Many human resources have devoted their selves to research and develop such products to run up against some major obstacles. Here are some topics that describe challenges involved in development of low-sodium formulations.
How to reduce sodium content in food without changing taste is the big question that manufacturers face. Even though trends indicates healthy food is prime factor across consumers, taste remains most critical factor of purchasing. Certain food industries choose to reduce sodium content without changing taste.
Salt is comparatively inexpensive ingredient. There is supplementary economic interest in it owing to possibilities that it makes to retain more water in certain products. Salt inhibits the multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms. The microbiological risks related to reformulations aimed at decreasing sodium can thus be substantial in such food as meat products, mayonnaise-type products, sauces etc.
It is important to have barriers that would help to prevent growth of pathogenic microorganisms. They are better, if they are more numerous. Microorganisms need water to be active. Therefore, water is the essential factor for microorganisms to survive. The key consequence of sodium chloride over microorganisms is the reduction of water in food items.
On the other hand, taste is a physical or chemical property that stimulates explicit reactions from sensory receptors. Sensory acuity is the capability and fineness help sensorial organs to control separate stimuli qualitatively. Consumers can notice the change in the taste if salt concentration in food items varies. Salt reduction of nearly 10 to 25 % might be unnoticeable for salt taste receptors. However, it takes three to four weeks to adapt to minimum salty food for a consumer.
The tongue has 3 types of taste buds. Some gustatory receptors are present at taste cells on the surface to identify basic tastes and transfer the information to the brain via gustatory nerves. Sodium chloride helps to increase palatability of food. The Na ions stimulate the taste whereas the Cl ions provide salty taste.
Several factors that a common man cannot identify need to be considered while reducing salt content in food items. Consumers can adapt to food which are less in salt percentage in three to four weeks. Various glands and taste buds need to be considered while studying reduction of sodium chloride to provide healthy food as well as to keep consumers attracted.