Teaching us to flavor food with herbs and spices can help us lower our salt intake.
So suggests a study released this afternoon during a conference in San Francisco.
It was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.
In any event, the study started with 55 volunteers being fed a low-sodium diet for four weeks. The researchers provided all foods and all calorie-containing drinks during that phase, the American Health Association reports in an abstract.
During the second phase, half of the volunteers participated in a 20-week “behavioral intervention,” in the words of the researchers, seeking to reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day by using spices and herbs. The other half sought to reduce their sodium on their own.
During the first phase, sodium intake decreased from an average of 3,450 milligrams per day to an average of 1,656 milligrams.
Sodium intake increased in both groups during the second phase — but by an average of 966 milligrams per day less in those who got the mentoring.
The study’s lead author was Cheryl A.M. Anderson of the University of California San Diego.
“Salt is abundant in the food supply and the average sodium level for Americans is very high — much higher than what is recommended for healthy living,” Anderson said in the abstract.
“We need a public health approach aimed at making it possible for consumers to adhere to an eating pattern with less salt,” she said.
It’s worth noting that the study was funded by the McCormick Science Institute, the research wing of the McCormick company that sells lots and lots of spices.
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