Be wary of the Hidden Salt in Foods
By Professor Song Huanlu
Faculty of Food, Professor of Beijing Technology and Business University
A high-salt diet is that in which more than 6 grams of salt is consumed per day, including the amount of salt consumed through various condiments such as soy sauce, pickles, MSG (monosodium glutamate), etc. Nowadays, more and more people are switching to a healthy diet which advocates a low-salt intake. Then, what does low salt mean? For example, the baking soda, and monosodium glutamate using to cook steamed bread, stuffed bun, and fried breadstick, have the same “sodium” level as table salt. They can be hidden in food and difficult to use your taste buds to detect. Reasonable daily salt intake should add in the hidden salts from daily consumed bread, processed meat, and canned vegetables together with other sodium-containing compounds.
What is Hidden Salt?
Therefore, consumers should keep an eye on not only the "high-salt/sodium" labeled products, but also those hidden-salt-added foods in daily life. Hidden salt, as its name implied, existed in foods that are undetectably ingested into the body apart from the salt. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), chicken powder, and sauces contain unacceptably high levels of sodium. Besides, desserts, dried fruits, fried breadsticks, bread, and even toasts may also contain the "hidden salt".
Table Salt Source
Sodium is ubiquitous in a wide variety of foods, that can be found in both table salt and non-table-salt. Table salt is by far the biggest source of sodium which can be grouped into the following categories:
First, it can be found at home food cooking/preparation and the table.
Second, condiments and processed foods, such as soy sauce, sauces, oyster sauce, pickles, sausages, hams, smoked products, canned foods, fermented beans, instant noodles, etc. More than 80 percent of our sodium intake comes from processed, packaged and restaurant foods.
The rest of the sodium comes from foods that do not taste particularly salty, such as bread, preserved foods, etc.
Non Table Salt Source
Sodium source also comes from non-table salt. First, sodium occurs naturally in fresh foods, such as vegetables, kelp, shrimp, milk, etc. The sodium level from low to high in natural foods are fruits, vegetables, cereals, and protein foods.
Then, pay attention to the added sodium and sodium compounds in processed/ prepared foods, such as the monosodium glutamate, chicken powder(mainly the monosodium glutamate, monosodium salt and 5 '-nucleotide disodium salt such as inosine disodium, disodium guanosine); baking soda and soda for processed fermented foods; sodium citrate for adjusting sourness, sodium benzoate for corrosion prevention; various phosphates for foods additives such as sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium pyrophosphate, trisodium phosphate, disodium hydrogen phosphate, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, acid sodium pyrophosphate, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, etc., these phosphates are the most widely used quality improver in the food industry in the world.
Last, water and wine in high-sodium areas are also sources of dietary sodium.
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