Reducing sodium is a priority for the food industry, but sodium reduction efforts are far more complex than simply adding less salt, particularly when it comes to processed meat products where salt plays a role not just in taste, but in texture and safety. In a new Meat MythCrusher video, Jeff Sindelar, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, addresses the common myths that sodium is easily reduced and explains the various roles it plays in processed meat products.
“Sodium is very important for a number of functions in processed meat products, first and foremost is flavor,” Dr. Sindelar says. “Sodium also helps provide the texture consumers are accustomed to as well as for safety to control pathogenic bacteria and spoilage. This usage has been around for centuries.”
Dr. Sindelar also compares sodium content in a variety of foods ranging from bacon to bread to frozen pizza – comparisons that may leave many people surprised about the sources of sodium in their diet. He notes that while a food like bacon may taste salty, it has a lower amount of sodium than many foods.
“If you look at all the different foods we consume, and we consume a wide array of different foods, processed meats don’t always have the highest sodium content,” Dr. Sindelar says.
The video also discusses how consumers can best determine sodium levels in different products as well as efforts to reduce sodium.
The Meat MythCrusher video series seeks to bust some of the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production, processing, safety and nutrition and is jointly produced by American Meat Institute (AMI) and American Meat Science Association (AMSA). The series is now in its fourth year and includes more than 30 videos which have been viewed more than 50,000 times. Other video topics include myths surrounding meat and poultry nutrition, “Superbugs” in meat, Meatless Monday, hormone use in animals, ammonia in ground beef, grass-fed beef and more.
All of the videos and more are available at http://www.meatmythcrushers.com/.