Acceptability of Low Sodium Foods: What We Know and Where We're Headed

Session Track: Sodium Reduction: Sensory Applications 
Session Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014; 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Session Description

Step-wise salt reduction was suggested by the Institute of Medicine as a means to reduce salt intake to the levels recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Many food processors have adopted this strategy although there is little evidence to support its usefulness, particularly in terms of consumer acceptability. This presentation highlights the results of an extensive sixteen week study. Participants were subjected to a three-part study: an initial taste test, a longitudinal study and a final taste test.  Outcomes data is shared that substantiates gradual, step-wise sat reduction in not a 'one size fits all' solution to sodium reduction.

Speaker Information

Nuala Bobowski, Postdoctoral Fellow, Monell Chemical Senses Center

Nuala Bobowski has a Ph.D. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, with a specialization in Sensory Science.  In response to the 2010 Institute of Medicine publication, Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States, her dissertation work was focused on salt reduction and implications for consumer acceptability, as completed through two separate studies.  For the first, she defined a series of sequential difference thresholds steps to determine how much salt could be reduced in a food and remain unnoticeable to the consumer.  For the second, she used these difference threshold steps to compare effectiveness of a gradual salt reduction strategy to an abrupt salt reduction strategy in terms of consumer acceptability, taking into account subjects’ PROP sensitivity, liking for salt, and motivation to reduce dietary salt intake.  Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, where she will continue salt research with projects focused on individual variation in sensitivity and liking for salt and potassium chloride, and determination of the relationship between salt preference and intake, which will hopefully set the stage for personalized, evidence-based strategies for dietary salt reduction.