New processed cheese with 60% less salt could improve diets

Jan 05, 2011

Food scientists at University College Dublin have created a processed cheese product with 60% less sodium than full salt versions, and practically no difference in taste and structure.

Processed is used by because it has several manufacturing advantages over unprocessed cheese, including extended shelf-life, resistance to separation when cooked, and uniformity of product. There are also significant economic advantages when compared to production by traditional cheesemaking processes.

“With so much processed food being consumed, western diets have about three times more sodium than is needed,” explains Michael O’Sullivan from the UCD Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin, one of the scientists involved in the research.

“This excessive intake of sodium is linked to increased rates or hypertension and stroke. So in recent years there has been a move towards reducing sodium in processed foods, including cheese products.”

The processed cheese created by the scientists is made from dry protein ingredients such as casein powder rather than through the traditional cheese making process. The cheeses rated well among panellists who preferred the reduced salt versions to those with standard levels of sodium chloride.

According to O’Sullivan, emulsifying salts (usually phosphates and citrates) and NaCl are the sources of added sodium content in processed cheese.

“NaCl which acts as a preservative, and helps to enhance the flavour of the product, contributes to over 60% of the total ,” he explains.

By altering the manufacturing conditions, the scientists could reduce the levels of NaCl, the major contributor to added sodium, and maintain the taste and structure of the imitation cheese while reducing the content by up to 60%.

The methods used by the scientists also resulted in reduced processing times and a reduction in the amount of energy required for mixing and manufacture. Also the post-manufacture hardness of the cheese was decreased; mainly due to slight changes in the way fat and moisture are distributed within the product.

Although the pilot-scale conditions under which the scientists produced the imitation cheeses are not directly comparable to manufacturing conditions on an industrial scale, the team believe that their methods could easily be scaled-up for industrial production of imitation cheeses with significantly reduced salt content.

Explore further: Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, researchers find

More information: “Reducing salt in imitation cheese: effects on manufacture and functional properties” by M. El-Bakry, F Beninati, E Duggan, ED O’Riordan, and M O’Sullivan, was published online in the journal Food Research International.

Provided by University College Dublin

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cutting Sodium From Your Diet

Feb 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Keep in mind that salt is not only what comes out of the shaker, but rather what goes into the food during processing and manufacture.

Sodium contents of processed foods decoded

Jan 25, 2010

Sodium is essential for myriad biological processes including fluid balance and muscle contraction. However, too much sodium can have harmful effects such as increasing blood pressure. Consequently, reducing sodium intake ...

Wonderful cheese is all in the culture

Jan 06, 2009

It's an age-old tradition that dates back at least 8,000 years but it seems we still have much to learn about the bacteria responsible for turning milk into cheese.

Cheese curd recalled in New York State

Dec 05, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the recall Wednesday of Heritage Cheese Ranch Peppercorn Cheese Curd because of a labeling error.

Recommended for you

Vitamin E intake critical during 'the first 1,000 days'

2 hours ago

Amid conflicting reports about the need for vitamin E and how much is enough, a new analysis published today suggests that adequate levels of this essential micronutrient are especially critical for the very ...

Demographics impact family physicians' care of children

Sep 12, 2014

(HealthDay)—Demographic and geographic factors influence whether family physicians provide care for children, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Estimate: 3 in 10 NFL retirees face cognitive woes (Update)

Sep 12, 2014

Nearly three in 10 former NFL players will develop at least moderate neurocognitive problems and qualify for payments under the proposed $765 million concussion settlement, according to data prepared for ex-players' lawyers ...

User comments : 0