Preference for salt in a food may be alterable without a low sodium diet

Nuala Bobowski, Aaron Rendahl, Zata Vickers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In response to current efforts to reduce population-wide dietary salt intake, the objective of this study was to determine whether liking for reduced sodium and low sodium tomato juice could increase following repeated exposure over an extended period. Eighty-three adult subjects participated in a three-part study: an initial taste test, a 16-week longitudinal study, and a final taste test. Subjects gave liking ratings of four tomato juice samples ranging in sodium from 640. mg (a concentration comparable to a commercially available product) to 136. mg per 237. ml serving (a low sodium concentration) at both taste tests. For the longitudinal study, subjects were divided into two balanced groups based on PROP sensitivity, hedonic sensitivity to salt, and motivation to reduce dietary salt intake; the abrupt group received tomato juice reduced in sodium to reach a low sodium target at week four, and the gradual group received juice reduced in sodium via difference thresholds to reach the same target at week 14. Though liking for the juice with the highest salt content was unchanged between taste tests, liking for all reduced salt juices increased at the final taste test relative to the initial taste test among subjects in both salt reduction groups. In addition, subjects in both groups experienced a downward shift in preference for salt in tomato juice, indicating that repeated exposure may be sufficient to alter preference for salt in a food in the absence of a low sodium diet. That salt preference may be altered by exposure alone within the context of a high salt diet is promising for both the food industry and individual consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalFood Quality and Preference
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota , the Sensory Center in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station , and the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Science Scholarship Fund .


  • Acceptability
  • Preference
  • Salt reduction
  • Sodium


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