Recent research from the University of California, San Diego and Johns Hopkins University suggests cooking with spices and herbs could close the 1,000 mg gap between the amount of sodium Americans consume on a daily basis, and the amount recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The study was funded by the McCormick Science Institute, the independent research arm of McCormick & Company Incorporated (NYSE: MKC), a global leader in flavor.
In the study, entitled “Effects of a behavioral intervention that emphasizes spices and herbs on adherence to recommended sodium intake,” researchers taught adults to flavor their food with spices and herbs instead of salt. At the end of the trial, the intervention group, who had tools including spices and herbs as well as cooking demonstrations, were able to reduce sodium intake by an average of 956.8 mg/day – which is about 1/3 of the average sodium adults consume each day.
Dr. Cheryl Anderson, lead researcher and author of this study, as well as Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego, was also a member of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The committee’s report emphasized a continued concern over high intake of sodium in the American diet. On average, American adults consume 3,300 mg of sodium a day, which is 1,000 mg more than the 2,300 mg/d recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other health authorities.
“This study demonstrates that a multi-faceted behavioral program including spices and herbs for meal preparation is effective in reducing daily sodium intake,” Anderson said. “Teaching consumers to prepare food using spices and herbs with reduced salt is a positive solution that supports a higher quality diet while still enjoying great tasting food.”
“Cutting back on sodium is a message Americans have been hearing for many years,” said Dr. Hamed Faridi, McCormick’s Chief Science Officer. “One of the main concerns with reducing salt content is that often times it impacts flavor, which makes eating less satisfying. Thankfully, adding spices and herbs can easily solve that problem.”