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Want to reduce salt intake substitute it with MSG says recent study

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USA: The use of glutamates such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a salt substitute can reduce sodium in the food supply — is the key take away from a recent study published in the journal Nutrients. 

The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and estimated the reduction in sodium if glutamates are used as a partial replacement for sodium in certain food categories. The study found that the substitution of glutamates for salt can reduce sodium intake by up to 7-8 percent.

Reduction of dietary intake of sodium is an important goal for the improvement of public health, as reduced intake can decrease the risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) — a leading risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

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Sodium reduction poses technical challenges given its role in the palatability and safety of food (e.g., preventing bacterial growth and spoilage). When salt is reduced, palatability and consumer acceptance of a product generally tends to decrease. Currently, no perfectly viable alternative for replacing sodium exists in the contemporary food marketplace, although several innovations do exist among various product categories. For example, glutamate, a nonessential amino acid, has been used to enhance the taste and palatability of food.

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Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the most important glutamate salt and flavor enhancer, to lower the overall sodium level in certain foods while maintaining palatability. MSG contains about 12% sodium, which is less than one-third of that contained in table salt (39%).

Research results are consistent with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s 2019 Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium report, which references MSG as a tool to help reduce sodium1. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern2, but about 90% of Americans are consuming too much. High sodium intake can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases’.

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Researchers used the data set from those enrolled in NHANES between 2013-2016, which includes 16,183 subjects aged 1 year and older. They established average sodium consumption and then used a modelling method to estimate sodium reduction using glutamate. For the total population, they found that the substitution of glutamate in certain food categories can reduce sodium intake by approximately 3 per cent, and among consumers of at least one product category that is typically higher in sodium (like cured meats), the addition of glutamate could reduce sodium intake by even more (7-8 per cent).

This indicates that if glutamate were used as a salt substitution in products like cured meats, meat-based frozen meals, soups and crackers, everyone in the US >1 year of age will likely benefit from a reduction in sodium. Other research has shown that when salt is simply reduced on its own, consumer acceptance of the food or product goes down. Because glutamate offers umami taste, it can reduce sodium without sacrificing taste.

The study uses conservative assumptions on sodium reduction by substituting glutamates for sodium chloride and does not model the inclusion of glutamates in restaurant foods, which supply a large portion of sodium to the US diet. Therefore, the effect of glutamates could be greater than what is presented in the study.

More Information: “Current Sodium Intakes in the United States and the Modelling of Glutamate’s Incorporation into Select Savory Products” published in the Nutrients journal.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112691

Journal Information: Nutrients 

Provided by: Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc.




Source: Nutrients journal

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