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Sodium Chloride Essay

1231 words - 5 pages

Sodium chloride, commonly known as salt, is one of the most widely used additives in food industries as a preservative due to its antimicrobial effect. Sodium also enhances the flavour and palatability of food by increasing saltiness, reducing bitterness, enhancing sweetness and other congruent flavours (Liem et al, 2011). However, ingesting too much sodium causes the body to retain more fluid in the blood vessels, which puts an extra burden on the heart and blood vessels causing hypertension. One fifth of New Zealand adults are suffering from hypertension and is one of major risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). This is an important health concern because CVD is the ...view middle of the document...

Although there are other chemicals that can enhance the salty flavour or replicate the function of salt, they do not have the preservative effect of salt. Therefore It is critical to note that efforts to reduce or replace salt contents in processed foods must be balanced with use of other preservative to assure the safety of the products and also quality and the texture of food.

There are number of flavour enhancing agents available that can reduce sodium contents and enhance the saltiness. Commonly used enhancers are yeast extracts and hydrolysed vegetable proteins. Taste enhancers work by activating receptors in the mouth and throat, which helps to enhance the flavour of salt (Brandsma, 2006). Yeast extract are rich in glutamic acid, peptide, nucleotides, glutathione and other flavour compounds. Depending on the profile of these components, the extract is used to provide a specific taste to the product, such as umami flavour. Use of aromas enhance saltiness of breads and are claimed to allow up to 20% reduction of salt in bread (Synergy, 2009). Peptides from a variety of hydrolysed proteins enhance the salty taste of foods and permit reduction of sodium contents without significantly altering taste. Also herbs and spices can be used as an enhancer, use of fresh herbs provide more flavour than dried. Mixture of the salt forms of various amino acids and peptides such as basic dipeptides ornithyltaurine and ornithyl-beta-lanine can be used to enhance salty taste as well (Tada, M. et al. 1984.)

A current trend in the food industry is moving towards health and wellness of consumers. Food industry is aiming at reduction of sodium contents in the foods. However there is a dilemma of retaining the taste and shelf-life of the product. Flavour of the food determines acceptance and consumption of the products. In the study conducted by Adams So et al, they found that the simpler the food item (potato mash), the greater the perceived saltiness. The acceptability of food levels varied over a large range of sodium concentrations, depending on the complexity of the food. Considerable reductions in sodium contents can be made in some foods without reducing acceptance significantly. Sodium levels in bread, cheese and milk were lower in the latest New Zealand Total Diet Survey compared to previous surveys. Between 2007 and 2010, Heart Foundation of NZ initiated Project Target 450 which managed to reduce of sodium content in bread industry by 34mg/100g (Dunford et al 2011). Consumers’ awareness of the health issue related with high sodium intake was the key drive to these changes.
A study showed that after a gradual but sustained reduction in salt intake or a low salt diet over the time period,...

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