12 January - 20 June 2016

Research finds fish sauce is a viable alternative to sodium chloride

Research by a Malaysian team may have uncovered a novel way of reducing sodium chloride (NaCl) whilst maintaining deliciousness. Foods designed to appeal to a range of international palates were tested at a range of sodium levels, with fish sauce replacing the missing salt.

Research by a Malaysian team may have uncovered a novel way of reducing sodium chloride (NaCl) whilst maintaining deliciousness. Foods designed to appeal to a range of international palates were tested at a range of sodium levels, with fish sauce replacing the missing salt. Results were promising; NaCl reductions of 25% in chicken broth, 16% in tomato soup and 10% in coconut curry could be achieved without significantly impacting the participants’ liking of the product. It is speculated that the properties of fish sauce in this case stem from a high level of free amino acids, particularly glutamate, which create a complex and appealing flavour profile.

Alternative methods of sodium reduction (such replacement with other salts or targeting primary tastes to increase ‘salty’ perception) have never been widely implemented, the unwanted effects on flavour and texture being too great. Additionally, according to further research cited by the team, consumers continue to prefer high-sodium foods even with knowledge of the negative effects on their health. Fish sauce, with some necessary recipe modifications, could therefore be a tasty way to reduce sodium – and its associated health risks, including hypertension, cardiac disease and obesity – without putting consumers off their food.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt and sugar versions.

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