While eating dinner at a restaurant recently, I couldn’t help but comment to my fellow diners about how salty our food was. They replied ‘yes, but that’s what makes it taste so good!’. It wasn’t until the next morning when I received two text messages from my friends saying that they had been thirsty all night and perhaps the delicious meal was a bit too salty after all.
It got me thinking, what is it about salt that makes food taste so good? After a bit of research, I found out that when combined with fat, salt can override feelings of fullness, allowing us to eat more. So that explains why potato chips are so moreish!
A study from Deakin University found that people ate 11 per cent more kilojoules when the meal was high in salt, regardless of whether the meal was high or low in fat. Given that fast food and other processed snacks like chips are loaded with both salt and fat, and therefore kilojoules, it’s no wonder we struggle to keep our portions in check.
So, how can we give our food loads of flavour, without shaking on the salt? Well, let me introduce you to the exotic world of herbs and spices. Instead of adding salt to your potatoes, try sprinkling paprika over batons of sweet potato and bake them into crunchy chips. And next time you grab the salt shaker to season steamed veg, try adding a pinch of chilli flakes or a squeeze of lemon.
But, herbs and spices do more than add exotic flavour – they’re bursting with powerful antioxidants to help fight the damage that stress and an unhealthy diet puts on our bodies.
Find out more about how to add flavour without salt, plus plenty of delicious, low-salt recipes in the August issue of Healthy Food Guide magazine.