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For those that freak out over HFCS ... don't read this.

ipsedixit Mar 21, 2010 08:41 PM

From the WSJ: "PepsiCo Develops 'Designer Salt' to Chip Away at Sodium Intake "

Read about it here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

  1. pikawicca Mar 25, 2010 07:35 PM

    For me, potato chips are a treat: I eat them about once a month, full-fat, full-salt.

    1. alanbarnes Mar 22, 2010 09:58 AM

      ZOMG!!! A company is mixing sizes of salt crystals in a single product!!! The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!!! Next thing you know, kosher salt and table salt will start intermingling, and you know what that means...

      The comparison to HFCS is completely unfounded. HFCS is an industrial product that is distinct from the sugars it replaces, both in terms of how it is made and in terms of its chemical composition. The "designer salt" that PepsiCo is talking about is just a combination of various crystal sizes. But those crystals are all just salt. NaCl. Exactly the same stuff that's already on Lay's potato chips.

      4 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes
        cowboyardee Mar 22, 2010 11:36 AM

        Agreed with AB. I don't see how this is analogous to HFCS.

        Designer salt is the same chemical as regular salt. Onward, PepsiCo.

        1. re: cowboyardee
          westsidegal Mar 23, 2010 01:53 PM

          is it?
          the article suggests that this may be the case, but doesn't ever ACTUALLY state that.

          when i read something like this:

          <<a slightly powdery ingredient that tastes like regular salt>>

          it makes me doubt that the powdery ingredient is, in fact, chemically the same as salt.
          the wording is strange and suspicious.

          1. re: westsidegal
            alanbarnes Mar 23, 2010 02:04 PM

            The article specifically noted that replacing or supplementing salt with other substances was rejected. It also notes that the only ingredients in Lay's chips are potatoes, oil, and salt. Finally, it mentions the experimentation with "different shapes of salt crystals to try to find one that would dissolve more efficiently on the tongue."

            Admittedly the language isn't watertight, but it sure sounds to me as though that "powdery ingredient" is finely-ground salt.

            1. re: alanbarnes
              MakingSense Mar 25, 2010 10:06 PM

              I've bought "popcorn salt" before. Had to buy a huge box so I still have some in the pantry that I will probably die with.
              That salt is almost like powder. Very, very fine - much finer that any sea salt, but dry - not like fleur de sel.
              It sticks beautifully to hot popcorn and we can use much less by volume to salt popcorn more than adequately because it spreads so well.
              I got it a some food wholesaler/resto supply house.
              Maybe this is similar....

      2. goodhealthgourmet Mar 21, 2010 09:55 PM

        i don't think it's really comparable to the HFCS issue.

        the details in this article are relatively spare, but as far as i can tell the only thing that makes this salt different is the size & shape of the crystals. if that's accurate, and they haven't actually altered the chemical composition, then i'm all for it.

        7 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          ipsedixit Mar 21, 2010 09:57 PM

          No one thought there would be an "issue" with HFCS when it was first introduced ...

          Time will tell.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            ChefJune Mar 22, 2010 08:32 AM

            <No one thought there would be an "issue" with HFCS when it was first introduced . ???? Lots of people had issues with HFCS from the very beginning.

            and what is the NEED to alter salt? Sea salt isn't good enough for them, in its millions of permutations?

            1. re: ChefJune
              ipsedixit Mar 22, 2010 08:50 AM

              Well, according to PepsiCo., the new designer salt is intended to provide the same "salty taste sensation" as traditional salt but with less sodium.

              The theory, then, is that people can eat the same amount of potato chips, for example, but ingest less sodium.

              That's the theory anyway ... but knowing people (and the gluttons that they are), they'll just eat more of the potato chips with the new designer salt, thereby negating the intended sodium decrease in our diet and (more disturbingly) increase the calories in our diet.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                alanbarnes Mar 22, 2010 09:54 AM

                According to the article, the theory is only about 20% of the salt on chips actually delivers any saltiness; the other 80% is ingested without providing any flavor benefit. By manipulating the crystal size, the company hopes to make chips that taste exactly the same but have less sodium. And since it's fat and carbs, not salt, that trigger feelings of satiety, there's no reason to believe people will eat any more chips than they already do.

                1. re: alanbarnes
                  ipsedixit Mar 22, 2010 10:01 AM

                  "And since it's fat and carbs, not salt, that trigger feelings of satiety, there's no reason to believe people will eat any more chips than they already do."


                  Really? I've always thought that people ate salty snacks for the salt ... and not necessarily the fat or carbs content.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    alanbarnes Mar 22, 2010 10:58 AM

                    >>"I've always thought that people ate salty snacks for the salt"<<

                    Why? If people just wanted salt, they'd eat salt, not potato chips. The fat and carbs play an important role. Moreover, there's no indication that salt causes satiety, while there's ample evidence that fat and carbs do. See BJ Rolls, Carbohydrates, fats, and satiety (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 61, 960S-967S).

                    But even if the saltiness were the only thing driving the consumption of potato chips, the whole point of the "designer salt" is to increase the proportion of the salt that's actually tasted. So the consumer gets the same amount of salty flavor; it just takes less salt to deliver that quantum of saltiness.

                    To the extent that people eat potato chips solely to increase blood plasma sodium levels, they'll need to continue consuming the same amount of salt, which in this case would require eating more chips. But something tells me that most folks find excessive water retention and puffy fingers a drawback to, rather than the goal of, eating too many chips.

                    1. re: alanbarnes
                      Jen76 Mar 26, 2010 08:10 PM

                      "Why? If people just wanted salt, they'd eat salt, not potato chips."

                      Well, it's more pleasant for me to ingest salt on a chip or kernel of popcorn than to just shake some in my palm and lick it. I don't eat chips or popcorn so much because I'm hungry; it's usually because I'm craving something salty.

        2. s
          small h Mar 21, 2010 08:51 PM

          Ah, this will truly make the world a better place. Thank heavens our ingenuity is being put to such good use. Because it's terribly unfair to expect people to just eat fewer potato chips.

          6 Replies
          1. re: small h
            Blueicus Mar 21, 2010 09:06 PM

            Which is amusing because people (especially on this board) keep complaining about how serving size suggestions on nutritional labels are understated and that nobody eats that few chips/cookies/bottles of juice/random snack product.

            1. re: Blueicus
              ipsedixit Mar 21, 2010 09:08 PM

              Food manufacturers just can't seem to win ...

              1. re: ipsedixit
                chicgail Mar 25, 2010 11:55 AM

                Food manufacturers always win. If you haven't see it, "Food, Inc." is a must.

                Food production has become much more technological, industrialized and mechanized with competition stifled and the result is that the food we eat is much less healthy, much less safe and we are getting fatter, sicker and dying younger.

              2. re: Blueicus
                small h Mar 22, 2010 10:01 AM

                I'm not sure what you mean, but I interpret the complaining thusly: it's about manufacturers under-representing the calories (or whatever) in a single serving by making a single serving unrealistically tiny.

                1. re: small h
                  Blueicus Mar 23, 2010 07:05 PM

                  but if people simply ate the suggested service sizes listed by the food manufacturers, then" expecting people to just eat fewer potato chips" wouldn't be a problem, eh?

                  1. re: Blueicus
                    small h Mar 23, 2010 07:51 PM

                    I suppose not, and I take your point to be that consumers are ultimately responsible for what they ingest - I agree. But I regard the suggested serving size with some cynicism (alliteration alert!). It's a way for manufacturers to absolve themselves from peddling calorie-dense products: Hey, don't blame your fat ass on us! We said that 6 potato chips was a single serving.

                    That said, I do think that food companies are entitled to sell whatever the market will bear, melamine-laced baby formula and its ilk excepted.

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