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Salt in food processing; usage and reduction: a review




Salt is one of the most widely used additives in food industries because of its low cost and varied properties. It has a preservative and antimicrobial effect as a direct consequence of the capacity of sodium chloride to reduce water activity values. In addition, sodium chloride is a flavour enhancer as a consequence of its effect on different biochemical mechanisms. It also has flavour enhancing effects from reducing or enhancing the enzymatic activity of some enzymes responsible for the development of different organoleptic parameters. Trends in sodium chloride use in food industries point to salt replacement or reduction by means of the use of sodium chloride substitutes such as KCl or phosphates; flavour enhancers and the optimisation of the physical form of salt. This trend has arisen as a result of the greater awareness of the negative effects of excess dietary intake of sodium, which has been linked to hypertension and consequently an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The average total daily sodium intake per individual in developed countries is 4–5 g of Na, which is up to 25 times greater than the minimum adult requirement.