Excessive sodium (Na) intake has been linked to development of hypertension and related pathologies. In this study, we assessed if the sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration in a prototypical food influences the liking and intake of that food. In study 1, detection and recognition thresholds for NaCl were assessed, and perceived salt intensity and liking for hash browns of varying sodium concentrations (40 mg, 120 mg, 170 mg, and 220 mg Na/100 g) were compared in a lab setting. In study 2, detection and recognition thresholds for NaCl were assessed in a lab setting, and lunches consisting of hash browns, basic salad, and beverages were consumed freely in a dining setting on 4 separate occasions. Intake and liking ratings for hash browns were recorded after the lunch. In both studies, detection and recognition thresholds for NaCl were not associated with perceived saltiness, liking, or intake of hash browns. Liking and perceived salt taste intensity of hash browns were correlated (r = 0.547 P < 0.01), and in study 1 the 220 mg sodium hash brown was most liked (P < 0.05). In study 2, there was no association between Na concentration and liking or consumption of hash browns. In summary, liking of hash browns were influenced by whether testing was in a lab or dining room environment. In a dining room environment, large decreases (>50%) of sodium content of food were achievable with only minor decrease in liking and no effect on consumption of the food.
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