Flavoring using blends of herbs and spices (H&S) instead of salt may be a promising approach to increase legume consumption and reduce salt content in foods. This study examines the effects of H&S on the appreciation and intake of low-salt legume-based dishes in a real ecological eating environment. Four mezzes with standard (0.8% w
) (S) or lower (0.4% w
) (LS) salt level and with or without H&S (LSHS, SHS) were developed. In a randomized cross-over trial, 94 participants attended four sessions, one week apart and received the four variants as a starter during lunch. Overall liking, food intake, and appetite ratings (visual analogue scale, VAS) were assessed during lunch. A follow-up study (n
= 130) was performed where the four variants were evaluated, and overall liking was measured at the same session. Overall liking and taste scores of SHS were significantly higher compared with LS (p
= 0.04 and p
= 0.03, respectively), but there were no significant differences between LSHS and S. However, there were no differences in energy intake or in appetite ratings among the products. Overall appreciation was similar between the low-salt with H&S and the standard-salt mezze, suggesting that the addition of H&S is a feasible strategy for achieving a 50% reduction in salt content without compromising hedonic appreciation.
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