A New Alternative to Sodium: Fish Sauce

January 15, 2016

CHICAGO— Cooks, chefs and food manufacturers are looking for natural ways to reduce sodium in recipes in nearly every culture. A big challenge to doing that is taste. Consumers typically describe reduced-sodium foods as lacking in taste and flavor. Findings of a study in the January issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), found that Vietnamese fish sauce added to chicken broth, tomato sauce and coconut curry reduced the amount of sodium chloride by by 10-25 percent while still maintaining the perceived deliciousness, saltiness and overall flavor intensity.

Fish sauces are a standard condiment and ingredient in various Southeast Asian cuisines that add an umami element to many foods. Fish sauce is made by combining sea salt and long-jawed black anchovies in large vats to slowly ferment for 8-12 months, during which the protein breaks down to free amino acids and increases the umami taste. It is used as a readily available source of protein and seasoning in the Asia region.

This researchers, a team of researchers (Linh Hue Huynhm Robert Danhi, and See Wan Yan) from Taylor’s University in Malaysia showed that fish sauce may be used as a partial substitute ingredient for salt as a means to reduce sodium content in food without diminishing palatability. These results could aid chefs and food manufacturers in creating foods lower in sodium content that would meet the needs of consumers, healthcare providers, governmental organizations, and consumer advocacy groups without compromising taste.

Read the article in the Journal of Food Science here

About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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