With so much talk about sodium intake being linked to health risks, it makes sense to decrease sodium intake. A person who consumes less sodium has a lower risk for elevated blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
Salt or sodium chloride is the main source of sodium in the diet. The recommended level of sodium consumption amounts to one teaspoon of salt per day; the average American, however, consumes 50 percent more than that. USFDA defines sodium content claims into: 1) Sodium Free/Salt Free; 2) Very low sodium; 3) Low sodium; and 4) Reduced sodium.
To classify as low sodium, a product should not have more than 140 mg sodium per serving. The amount of sodium in retail tortillas ranges from 280 mg to 430 mg per 55 g serving, which is the standard serving size for a tortilla. To meet the low sodium category for tortillas, the sodium content must be cut by 50-67% in standard retail tortillas.
To reduce the sodium content of tortillas, the common sources of sodium in the formulation must be identified. Definitely, the major source of sodium is salt; other ingredients, however, also significantly contribute to the total sodium content. Most of these are functional ingredients, which can be replaced at least partially with non-sodium alternatives.
In reformulating tortillas to meet low sodium requirement, processing properties, overall quality, taste, and shelf-life of the finished products should neither be adversely affected nor significantly increase the cost. Despite all of these considerations, Allied Blending & Ingredients has developed tortilla formulas that meet the low sodium requirement and satisfy discriminating palates.
By: Dr. Feliciano (Sonny) Bejosano
Tortilla Food Scientist