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Salty and Sweet

Bit of a rant, but I am really tired of "salted" everything, visible sprinkles of salt on everything from bread, cake, caramel, chocolates, brownies, etc. for that "burst" of salt. This trend is sending my blood pressure through the roof.

Coupled with the prevalence of sugar in EVERYTHING. Medicine and vitamins are loaded with sugar, not to mention regular bread, condiments, peanut butter, etc. I would like so much if I could be given the choice to add sugar if I want it, instead of things being sooooooo sweet, or salty.

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  1. The Products with out it are out there. Unsalted Pretzels, Peanut Butter, Vege Juices, Low Sugar and Sugar Free Jams, Candies, Cereals Etc.....

    19 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      I find that a lot of low salt items as sugar and low sugar items add artificial sweetener, it's as if things have to taste sweet even when it's something like cough syrup or tums.

      1. re: Pookipichu

        That's true, "low sugar" almost inevitably means that some artificial sweetener has been added. One way I get around this is to mix plain with regular, such as half and half salted and unsalted peanuts or pretzels, or regular cereal with plain toasted oat or grain flakes. It is a pain when your taste preferences are not "mainstream".

        1. re: vil

          Maybe I'm misremembering, I feel like there wasn't so much sugar in everything decades ago, HFCs weren't popularized until the 80's. I don't even think what I like or what you like is extreme or bland, I feel like the pendulum has just swung to an extreme where things are super sweet/salty.

          1. re: Pookipichu

            That is how I feel too, although it could also be that my tolerance was higher and awareness lower, back then. I recall being able to munch through a club pack of sickly sweet granola cereal within a few days, mostly because I enjoyed the crunchy sensation!

            I like to think, though, that food products these days are excessively sugary/salty because more manufacturers are counting on marketing research that shows that the excessiveness appeals to the types who tend to be more prone to excessive consumption. Maybe those who enjoy their sugar highs, salt kicks and chili pepper highs etc. I think it is fair to say that if you are more aware that what you are eating is too salty or sweet, you would be less likely to consume excessively in general :-)

          2. re: vil

            Actually I mix unsalted, and smoked and salted almonds. First I shake off a lot of the salt from the smoked, then mix half and half with the unsalted. We eat those for snacks around here. Lots of flavor, but less salt.

            1. re: sueatmo

              That is what I do too (except the part about shaking off the excess salt - smart move). When I buy snacks from the bulk bins, I usually bag the salted and unsalted versions into the same bag, after checking that they are the same price. It works well for nuts and pretzels.

              1. re: vil

                Good ideas for those of us who watch our salt! I confess I buy the almonds in the cans, but I might switch to bulk. Good ideas!

                I shake off the excess salt in a colander.

              2. re: sueatmo

                I eat raw almonds, generally from Trader Joe's. After doing this for a number of years, the roasted/salted ones taste old and stale. I'm guessing that I could sizzle up a few in olive oil or butter and lightly salt them and they would be pretty good, though.

                1. re: sandylc

                  I buy most nuts raw, especially pistachios in the shell. I roast them to a less roasted level than the commercially available roasted nuts. The result is a fresher, brighter, toasty flavor that is never burnt tasting. Occasionally, I add a small amount of salted roasted nuts. The result is just one or two salted nuts per handful. The salt on those nuts disperses nicely amongst the whole bunch. I've gotten to the point where a bag or can of salted nuts looks and tastes repulsive to me. Salted pistachios that are literally soaked in a salt solution are inedible to me now.

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    Totally agree, salty nuts burn my lips and gums, bleh, only raw nuts in this mouth.

            2. re: Pookipichu

              "cough syrup or tums" I can only imagine what it would taste like if it was not sweet.

              1. re: chefj

                Why does medicine have to taste sweet? Not everything has to taste like candy in my opinion.

                1. re: Pookipichu

                  Right, one example, though not food, is toothpaste. I finally had to ditch the children's toothpaste for my young dd, after seeing that she eats it like candy! The adult ones, even though still very sweet, are at least minty enough to deter a child from wolfing it down.

                  1. re: vil

                    We use Jason Powersmile - it's much less sweet. I tasted someone's Colgate recently and the sweetness blew me away.

                    1. re: vil

                      I make my own. 2/3 cup baking soda, 1 tsp sea salt, about 10 drops peppermint oil, plus enough water to make a paste.

                      It's cheap, whitens like crazy, and we all prefer it after a short readjustment period.

                    2. re: Pookipichu

                      Because that is what people want. Do you think this is done without Research?

                      1. re: chefj

                        People can be taught to appreciate less sweet and salty things, it's a cheap and unhealthy way to make people put something in their mouth and not everybody likes it.

                        1. re: Pookipichu

                          Unfortunately people have been taught by their consumption of overly processed foods to prefer too sweet or very salty. That's my opinion. I fault the food processors who have only been interested in producing frankenfoods with as much addictive HFC and salt as possible, to mask the true nature of the junk they manufacture.

              2. If it's visable don't buy it!

                1. Agree especially with the over sweetened Thai food, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, Chai. My once a year restaurant dessert has also been disastrous recently. The desserts are over sweetened and under flavored.

                  My chief complaints with salt is the soup found in restaurants, which is almost always made from commercial salty bases, at least that is what I think the salt must come from. Sometimes it is so salty it is painful.

                  But I also have to say that I do like salted dark chocolate way, way too much!

                  I now buy WF chicken broth which is quite low is sodium, and I check the sodium levels of any prepared foods that I buy, which have become fewer as the years go by--because of over salting and sweetening.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo

                    Really the solution is make your own and go to better Restaurants.

                    1. re: chefj

                      Making your own isn't always an option and my complaint stems from recent visits to highly rated restaurants and highly rated bakeries. Salt and sugar are quick and easy ways to make things taste better but it's become ridiculous.

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        I agree. I have had awful desserts in good restaurants. I find the sweet salad dressings in good restaurants. And most barbecue I've had everywhere has sauce sweet enough for dessert.

                        1. re: Pookipichu

                          If there are using Soup Bases they are not high quality Restaurants what ever their "ratings".
                          Also peoples perceptions of Saltiness and Sweetness are very subjective.
                          I find that adding a flavor like Vanilla into a savory Dish with no add Sugar, often makes people think it is sweet.
                          Same thing with Wine, people seem to think that a very dry Wine, that has a lot of Fruit is sweet.

                          1. re: chefj

                            Agree with the addition of vanilla, or cinnamon with only a small amount of sugar, enhances the perceived sweetness of a dish, although I've never used this in a savory dish.

                            One of my main gripes is the amount of sweetener used in stuff like salad dressings that never used to be sweet.

                              1. re: chefj

                                Yes. I do not add sugar to the egg mix that I use for French toast. Just a little vanilla.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  You misunderstand. I was saying that people think that things that have no added sugar in them are sweet when a flavor they associate with sweet things is used.

                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      No just trying to clarify my statement. I suppose I missed a "some".
                                      Great catch though.

                                      1. re: chefj

                                        Oh, dear, crabby day yesterday! Sorry!

                                    2. re: chefj

                                      I thought I was agreeing with you. How did I misunderstand? I find a little vanilla in the French toast egg mix tastes a little sweet.

                        2. re: sueatmo

                          I recently ate at a restaurant and my lips were tingling from salt. It really does get painful. Like you, I don't like desserts that are super sweet, I'd rather have vibrant flavors, chocolate, vanilla, fruit, etc. My favorite apple pie recipe barely adds sugar and relies on the sweetness, flavor and tartness of apples.

                          1. re: Pookipichu

                            I hear you. But I think we are in the minority.

                        3. Read the label, if it's too sweet or salty don't buy it. I don't buy many packaged items for this very reason.

                          1 Reply
                          1. even the salty stuff is now super salty. it's a conspiracy i tell ya! haha

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: simplelife

                              Finding low sodium or unsweetened products can be really difficult. I can find low salt plain potato chips, but finding low salt flavored potato chips is really difficult.

                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                That's true. It feels like it is either all or nothing, when it comes to flavoured chips.

                            2. I wish some things were more salty.

                              1. The salted caramels/desserts are a food trend, which will maybe one day dissipate.
                                The only way to really avoid added or excess salt is to limit any processed foods and make your own, and choose wisely what reataurants you go to, calling ahead to ask about low/no sodium options.

                                Personally i can take down a jar of pickles while drinking v8 and be happy as a clam. (I also have super low blood pressure so i take what i can get)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                  I hope that the popularity of salted desserts (and cupcakes) soon fall off a cliff. It's seriously become a cliche to see "salted" something or other on a restaurant dessert menu.

                                2. I like having visible sprinkles of salt on steamed or roasted vegetables.

                                  1. Isn't this sort of a food trend? What about all the "spicy mango salsas" and mixtures of peaches and hot sauce type things, etc...? Aren't they even putting bacon in milkshakes?
                                    It does seem quite a trend, but is there some sort of precedent in American cuisine for this? I'm thinking of slightly sweet BBQ sauces, candied yams...

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Wawsanham

                                      May appear to be a food trend to you but it's more of an exposure to other cultures. For example, Thai cuisine has always tried to balance sweet/salt/sour/bitter in various combinations and with different ingredients. Fruit salsas, while primarily American in origin, tend to play on those foreign influences.

                                      1. re: ferret

                                        When I first tasted Thai cuisine I was captivated, But lately, it seems so sweet!

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          To me, overly sweet is a sign of bad Thai food. Same for Chinese or Japanese. Unfortunately, this is all too common these days!

                                          1. re: vil

                                            I agree, I've also noticed that a lot of Thai places have gotten sweeter over the years, like Sueatmo said. The sauces have gotten aggressively sweeter, stickier, gloopier. Especially at places that cater to a mostly non-Asian clientele.

                                            1. re: vil

                                              I don't usually like "sweet" as the primary taste for a non- (standard) breakfast food, but Thai cooking is the lone exception.

                                              As an aside, I like how in the Soi Arab area of Bangkok, you get a basic nam phrik to go with your Arab mains.


                                      2. I feel the same. I mind the prevalence of sugar much more than the salt, to a point I am avoiding the majority of a lot of types of commercial food products: breads, desserts, sauces, nut butters, yogurt, cereals etc. I get by with making things from scratch or by adding seasoning the plain versions (plain yogurt, chips, peanut butter etc.) Or if stuck with overly sweet desserts or sauces, I dilute the sweetness with other ingredients, such as extra cream on a cake or cookie. I still have a giant bottle of beer and chipotle BBQ sauce that I bought on a whim more than 10 years ago, because it was way too sweet and I could only use a little at a time in a marinade!

                                        Maybe it is part of getting old and being more aware that all that high level of salt and sugar is burning my mouth.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: vil

                                          And there is the solution. If you want to control what your eating make it your self.

                                          1. re: chefj

                                            This works until you dine in a restaurant. You can control only so much there, although I invariably ask for vinegar and oil for my salad.

                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              A lightly-dressed salad with a homemade, non-sweet vinaigrette is a sign of a good restaurant, IMO.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                No argument from me, but those restaurants are not common. And a lot of "house made" dressings are made with balsamic vinegar and to me, taste sweet and oily and little else.

                                        2. Here is an interesting article, on a book titled "Salt Sugar Fat", that gives a good explanation why this is so. The author had the chance "to come across thousands of pages of internal documents at the largest food companies that really showed (him) what they were doing and how salt, sugar fat became the three pillars within the holy grail, and how their whole survival depends on those three ingredients.”

                                          Link: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-h...

                                          1. In Short: Make it yourself

                                            Look at the sodium levels in processed foods such as sauces and soups.

                                            Buy local fruits and veggies, cook things, freeze them. etc.

                                            This is what gives you the option to make it the way you want.

                                            1. I'd rather have salt or spice in my dessert that sweet in everything else. I wonder how much the salty dessert trend is a reaction against sweet elements in the apps and mains.