Salt ShakerScientists have found that individuals who prefer saltier foods have a heightened sense of taste. Gourmands, who often spurn the use of table salt, rarely prefer low-sodium versions of common foods, finding them bitter, tasteless or bland – so the results of this study make perfect sense to us.

Indeed, our founder has always had a preference for the saltier version of foods, often using salted butter, for example, in place of sweet butter, even when the recipe calls for the salt-free version. “He’s fanatical about making sure the salt level is just right – not too high, nor too low” said Marcia, one of our editors about our founder and publisher.

Known far and wide as someone with an exceptionally refined and sensitive palate, Bob has always been critical of low-sodium foods for his own personal preference, though he’s often commented that some commercial products are too salty. Of course, the salt does little for one’s blood pressure, and very much to the negative, will frequently raise it unnecessarily. “One must”, he would often say, “be very prudent with salt, using it only in foods that call for it, and monitoring your use day by day.” Nevertheless, he admits to having a strong desire for saltier foods.

This, of course, is contrary to his consulting work over the years in restaurants, where he has always advocated taking the salt, and the pepper, off the table, and allowing the chef to perfectly season the food. All too frequently, clients stare at him in amazement when he suggests that having salt and pepper shakers on the table insults the integrity, quality and professionalism of the kitchen staff and chef to properly flavor the food.

Like Bob, many gourmands will prefer the cooking of chefs who create slightly to more abundantly salty foods. But gourmands are not alone. The average consumer takes in far more sodium chloride (salt) than is needed through normally found foods. Fast foods are notoriously high in salt and those consuming them frequently often suffer for it. Think about it… the profit in fast food is in the beverages, and to sell you bigger, more expensive (upgraded) drinks, they salt your burger, pizza, fries, salads and anything else they sell you.

Many people who reach for the salt shaker often think their taste buds are weak or inadequate because they crave saltier foods, thinking they’re making up for lost taste function. But it seems just the opposite is true. Those who prefer more salt, the study shows, have stronger sense of taste and are more likely to find lower sodium foods bitter or flavorless.

We’re recommending that gourmands take heed that excessive salt can lead to a variety of problems, including elevated blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and other potentially fatal conditions. Total withdrawal from salt can be equally bad for you, and like anything else, salt is best used in moderation. Consider looking at the nutrition label on packaged foods or ingredients and tallying the salt in dishes you prepare. Keep it simple, low and safe and remember…

Not all taste is found in the taste buds.

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