Reducing Salt in Prepared Foods is Tricky Business

If you eat cereal for breakfast, and perhaps a slice of toast, chances are you have consumed a quarter of your daily sodium allowance by the time you leave the house. Sodium isn’t just in foods that seem like likely suspects – broths, or deli meats – it’s abundantly present in most of the prepared foods we consume.

High sodium consumption is associated with health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, and the FDA has put out new voluntary guidelines for commercial food producers to cut down on sodium in their products.

The goal is to get individual sodium consumption down from 3,400 milligrams a day to 2,300. That’s a decrease of about a third.

But – if you take salt out, what do you replace it with? That turns out to be a very complicated question, because salt plays a couple of roles in food beyond just being salty and delicious.