For those who crave the sweet taste of sugar, but not the 15 calories that come with each teaspoon, there are plenty of alternatives -- sucralose (better known as Splenda), aspartame (Equal) and saccharine (Sweet'N Low), just to name a few.
But where are the alternatives to salt?
It's a good question. Public health experts keep telling us that we need to cut back on our sodium consumption in order to bring down the nation's blood pressure and reduce our risk for heart attacks and strokes. This spring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it would pressure the food industry to reduce the amount of salt it adds to its products and hinted that it would impose regulations if necessary. Some companies are already working to wring salt out of their products.
Getting Americans to simply follow the federal guidelines issued in 2005 and eat no more than 1 teaspoon of salt each day would save about 90,000 lives per year, researchers estimate. Instead, the average American consumes nearly 1.5 teaspoons per day.
Given our addiction to salt, you'd think food scientists would be hard at work trying to come up with more healthful alternatives. And you'd be right. A roundup of the latest research is presented in the August issue of Nature Medicine, which went online on Thursday.