Most Americans have dietary sodium intakes that far exceed recommendations. Given the association of high sodium with hypertension, strategies to reduce sodium intakes are an important public health target. Glutamates, such as monosodium glutamate, represent a potential strategy to reduce overall intakes while preserving product palatability; therefore, this project aimed to model sodium replacement with glutamates. The National Cancer Institute method was used to estimate current sodium intakes, and intakes resulting from glutamate substitution (25%–45%) in a limited set of food groups for which substitution is possible. Data sets for individuals aged ≥1 year enrolled in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013–2016 (n
= 16,183) were used in the analyses. Glutamate substitution in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food codes was modeled by conservatively altering estimates of sodium intake reductions derived from the published, peer-reviewed literature. The addition of glutamates to certain food categories has the potential to reduce the population’s sodium intake by approximately 3% overall and by 7%–8% among consumers of ≥1 product category in which glutamates were substituted for sodium chloride. Although using glutamates to substitute the amount of sodium among certain food groups may show modest effects on intakes across the population, it is likely to have a more substantial effect on individuals who consume specific products.
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