On Salt: The Empire Strikes Back

Salt in Cheez-Its:

Salt sprinkled on top gives the tongue a quick buzz. More salt in the cheese adds crunch. Still more in the dough blocks the tang that develops during fermentation. In all, a generous cup of Cheez-Its delivers one-third of the daily amount of sodium recommended for most Americans.

As a demonstration, Kellogg prepared some of its biggest sellers with most of the salt removed. The Cheez-It fell apart in surprising ways. The golden yellow hue faded. The crackers became sticky when chewed, and the mash packed onto the teeth. The taste was not merely bland but medicinal.

Salt in soup:

“The sweetness of the carrots [in vegetable beef soup] isn’t pronounced. The broth, you don’t get an explosion of flavors.”…

Chicken noodle soup has been especially vexing… With only 150 calories, a single can of the condensed soup has more than a whole day’s recommended sodium for most Americans.

“It’s a very unique recipe,” Dr. Dowdie said. “Consumers of chicken noodle, they love it and they know it and they have a strong bond with it. And any slight change they will recognize.”

Other foods:

Without salt [Corn Flakes] tasted metallic. The Eggo waffles evoked stale straw. The butter flavor in the Keebler Light Buttery Crackers, which have no actual butter, simply disappeared.

Cargill’s view:

“Salt is a pretty amazing compound… So make sure you have plenty of salt in your kitchen at all times.”

ConAgra’s view:

Far more savings in health care costs — about $58 billion — could be generated if people simply cut 100 calories from their daily diets than if they consumed less salt.

Full article on the processed food industry’s dependence on salt. To make matters worse, genetics may play a part in influencing our dislike of low-sodium foods.

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. John Goodman says:

    Hooray for salt.

  2. Ken says:

    I’m with you. I enjoy salt.

  3. Vicki says:

    Chicken noodle soup without salt? Yuck!

  4. Nancy says:

    Very good to have both sides.

  5. artk says:

    David Kessler was right: fat, salt and carbs equals addictive food. It’s not a matter of salt or no salt, it’s that processed food is an engineered product. It’s not your grandma’s chicken soup, unless your grandma was Madam Curie. When that ad said “Bet You Can’t Eat Just One” they weren’t kidding.

  6. Virginia says:

    I make quite a few cakes for friends’ birthdays, and the icing recipe I use calls for a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. It’s a TINY amount compared to the 2 lb bag of sugar that goes into the recipe, but it makes for a huge difference in taste.

    If you forget to add it, the resulting mix gives you a headache because it’s too sweet. But, adding it balances the sweet taste and brings out all of the other flavors.

  7. Devon Herrick says:

    I wonder what prosciutto ham will taste like when the food police outlaws salt? It will probably taste a lot like rotten pork!

    I can imagine be an increase in illegal activity to counter the new anti-salt laws. This will probably result in bootleggers, making illegal smoked hams in rustic sheds, hidden away in the backwoods of Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

  8. Larry C. says:

    Pass the salt.

  9. Bart Ingles says:

    Devon: It already tastes like rotten pork! For some reason it always makes me think of Egyptian mummies.

    I can believe that most of the items listed require large amounts of salt to be palatable. But that probably tells you more about the products than about the importance of salt. Most decent food doesn’t need very much.