Low salt campaign backfires: Study reports rise in sodium intake despite warnings; Low-salt linked with obesity?

Less salt means people eat more food.

New research supported by Tate & Lyle indicates that U.S. sodium intake has been on an upward trend—increasing by 63 mg/day every 2 years from 2001 until 2010.

Study sponsor Tate and Lyle are a very large producer of sugar and many other ingredients to the food industry. They recently entered into an agreement with Nottingham University to market Soda-lo, a sodium chloride product that has been micro-crystallized so that it releases more quickly in saliva than regular salt. So, when it is used on the surface of products such as potato chips the flavor will be released more quickly and, as a consequence, you might use less to get the same flavor profile. Once in solution, however, Soda-lo acts just like regular sodium chloride.

It is obvious that the goal of this study was to highlight the salt content of the American diet, so that Tate and Lyle might more aggressively promote Soda-lo.

In this case, the study appears to indicate that our salt consumption is increasing in direct contradiction to what all the food processors are saying (that they have reduced the salt content of their processed foods by about 10 to 20%). If they had in fact reduced the salt content of all processed food products by that amount, and if this study has any merit, only one conclusion is possible. The decades long campaign by CSPI and the government against salt has resulted in the unintended consequence of consumers eating far more total food than they have in the past.

Experience has shown that when alcohol was reduced in beer (lite beer), people drank more; when sugar in soft drinks was replaced by substitutes, people also drank more; when fats and oils were reduced in low-fat/no-fat products, people ate more. And now that sodium is being reduced in food products, and made apparent on the label, people appear to be consuming more (according to this study). Thus, the ultimate result of the campaign by CSPI, Mayor Bloomberg, and the CDC was to increase the obesity epidemic.

The media release for the new study is below.

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Rise in sodium intake in US over last decade despite health officials’ call for reduction

Innovative solutions for reducing sodium content of the food supply are needed to help meet public health goals

Chicago — (April 22, 2013) – Sodium intake around the world is well in excess of physiological needs (1) and public health authorities agree that chronic excess sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke (2). However, despite recommendations to lower sodium consumption over the last decade, actual intake continues to rise.

Rising Sodium Intake

Research supported by Tate & Lyle was presented today at the American Society for Nutrition Experimental Biology (3) conference in Boston which indicates that in the United States, sodium intake has been on an upward trend—increasing by 63 mg/day every 2 years from 2001 until 2010. The study, commissioned by global food ingredient provider Tate & Lyle, used data from the What We Eat in America (WWEIA)/National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to assess overall sodium intake and sources of sodium in the diets of those two years of age and older from 2001 to 2010.

Based upon this recent analysis, the largest contributor of sodium to the diet was grains and grain products (i.e., breads, cereals, salty snacks); followed by meat, poultry, fish and mixtures; vegetables; and milk and milk products. Sodium intake from meat, poultry, fish and mixtures increased the most while sodium from grains remained consistent.

“This research shows us that despite public health efforts to decrease sodium intake, actual intake has continued to increase over the last 10 years and solutions to help decrease dietary intake are greatly needed,” states the study’s lead author, Victor Fulgoni, PhD, Senior Vice President of Nutrition Impact, LLC, a food and nutrition consulting company.

Sodium Reduction Innovation: SODA-LO™ Salt Microspheres

Several studies have shown that a reduction in salt intake is one of the most cost-effective interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in both developed and developing countries (4,5). Innovative solutions for reducing sodium content in the food supply may help meet public health goals.

SODA-LO™ Salt Microspheres, an ingredient offered by Tate & Lyle for food manufacturers, is a salt-reduction ingredient that tastes, labels and functions like salt because it is real salt. It can reduce sodium by 25-50 percent in food applications that are some of the largest contributors of sodium to the diet such as bread and salty snacks. It does this through its patent-pending technology that turns standard salt crystals into free-flowing, hollow salt microspheres that increase the perception of saltiness on the tongue.

“Meeting consumer taste preferences by using effective food ingredients to lower sodium content while maintaining the foods’ perceived salt intensity is one strategy for reducing global sodium intake,” said Priscilla Samuel, PhD, Director of Global Nutrition for Tate & Lyle.

“Tate & Lyle is committed to delivering innovative ingredients to help consumers reduce their sodium intake and meet their nutrition, health and wellness needs every day. Our company is committed to investing in innovation and research, and in developing ingredients—like SODA-LO™ Salt Microspheres—that can be incorporated into a wide variety of great tasting food and beverage solutions.”

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4 thoughts on “Low salt campaign backfires: Study reports rise in sodium intake despite warnings; Low-salt linked with obesity?”

  1. Bunk. I need to be really hungry to eat stuff without salt. With salt, I can eat everything, whether I need it or not. At least in my case, salt drives me towards obesity.

    Double bunk: it is not about taste (although food without salt is unpalatable). I tried stuff sold as LoSalt in the UK. It tastes OK, and I don’t mind extra potassium (that’s what they put in there to balance the missing 30% of NaCl). The result, after about six months of use, was that I went through it at a much higher rate. There is something called homeostasis that these people apparently haven’t heard of. Our salt requirements are determined by the structure of our proteins and membranes, and nobody can change that by decree.

  2. I’m confident that the War on Salt has resulted in many more people not getting enough salt than reducing the intake of people who should minimize salt intake.

    I myself consciously take salt directly to get my intake up.

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