A recent study1 shows that, in the United States, approximately 100,000 deaths each year can be attributed to excess salt intake.
It also suggests that a decrease of 9.5% in sodium intake (as has taken place in the UK in recent years) would prevent thousands of strokes and heart attacks in adults aged 40-85 years. It would also save more than $32 billion in medical costs. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend that we reduce our salt intake, but maintaining palatability in some foods can be difficult since reducing the salt can make them taste bland.
We don’t just eat to live, we get pleasure from eating. The savory foods that we enjoy have a balanced, rounded flavor. Often this satisfying taste is due to the fat and salt content of the food. Adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) to recipes is a way to reduce sodium in foods, and reduce fat in foods, that still taste satisfying.
Using MSG to Reduce Sodium
Some people believe that by using MSG in food, the sodium content of foods will be increased. However, that is not the case. Using MSG to season food can help to reduce the sodium content of recipes while increasing the savory umami taste. Here are three good reasons to choose MSG to reduce the level of sodium in your products:
Replacing table salt with MSG reduces the sodium content of recipes by up to 40% with no loss in palatability, as gram-for-gram glutamate contains only one third of the amount of sodium.
Glutamate is used at far lower levels than salt. MSG contributes only 1-2 percent of the total sodium contained in the average diet, even where it is used widely in food preparation.
Using a small amount of MSG in a low sodium product can make it taste as good as its high salt counterpart.
1. Smith-Spangler C M et al, (2010) Population Strategies to Decrease Sodium Intake and the Burden of Cardiovascular Disease. The Annals of Internal Medicine.
Related Research: Small Reduction in Sodium Could Have Large Public Health Payoff
New research suggests that glutamates such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be used to reduce sodium in the food supply by 7% to 8%, especially in the saltiest food categories.