In addition to high sodium content, cheese may induce an acid load to the body, which is associated with deleterious effects on consumers' health, the authors stated, adding that cheese is one of the main food vectors of sodium and salt. They note that 40g of cheese containing 2% salt accounts for 16% of the recommended daily sodium and salt intake.
The objective of the study was to explore alkalinizing salts in partial substitution of salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) to reduce the sodium content and the acid-forming potential of cheese, without altering its sensory properties.
Blue-veined cheeses were produced under industrial conditions, using brine salting followed by dry salting with a 4:1 (wt/wt) mixture of calcium lactate:NaCl or calcium citrate:NaCl.
Cheeses were then ripened for 56 days. No major appearance defects were observed during ripening. Calcium lactate substitution decreased the sodium content of the cheese core by 33%, and calcium citrate substitution increased the citrate content of the cheese core by 410%, respectively, compared with fine NaCl.
75% salt reduction possible
The study highlighted the substantial role of salt granulometry in sodium content, with the use of the coarse salt reducing the sodium content by 21% compared with fine salt. Sensory profiles showed nonsignificant differences in bitter and salty perceptions of salt-substituted cheeses with calcium lactate and calcium citrate compared with control cheeses.
Overall, the researchers stated that sensory tests showed a 75% reduction in dry NaCl is possible by substituting calcium lactate or calcium citrate without affecting salty and bitter tastes. The salt-substituted cheeses had appearance, texture and aroma comparable to those of the control cheeses.
The authors said using calcium lactate should be considered to reduce the sodium content and improve the nutritional quality of cheeses while maintaining the sensory quality of the products.
Alkalinizing organic salts could replace the acidifying salts KCl or CaCl2, which are currently used in salt replacement and are not recommended for consumers with renal disease.
The research was co-financed by FEDER (European Regional Development Funds) in Auvergne, France.
Calcium lactate as an attractive compound to partly replace salt in blue-veined cheese
Source: Journal of Dairy Science
Authors: Ecaterina Gore, Julie Mardon, Bord Cécile, Annick Lebecque