J Nutr Health.  2016 Apr;49(2):88-98. 10.4163/jnh.2016.49.2.88.

Relationship between thresholds and self-assessed preference for saltiness and sodium intake in young women

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Soongeui Women's College, Seoul 04628, Korea. rdyang@sewc.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Food and Nutrition, Dongduk Women's University, Seoul 02748, Korea.


We recruited 118 women in their early 20's to examine the relationship between sodium intake and salty taste thresholds and preference. We also examined the association of salty taste preference with sodium-related dietary behaviors and major dishes contributing to sodium intake.
Daily sodium intake was estimated using a 127-item dish-frequency questionnaire. Salty taste thresholds and preference were measured using rating scales using water solution of NaCl and a self-administered questionnaire based on a Likert scale, respectively.
Salty taste preference showed positive correlation with daily sodium intake and sodium intake-increasing behaviors, and inverse association with sodium intake-decreasing behaviors, including salt and soy sauce use at the table, the frequency of eating out and home delivery of foods, broth consumption of soup, stew or noodle soup, the use of ready-to-serve or processed foods, fresh vegetable intake, and the accommodating attitude toward bland food. Intake of sodium-contributing dishes, including ramen, spicy soft-tofu stew, radish kimchi, and dishes containing kimchi, also showed positive association with salty taste preference. Unexpectedly, detection and recognition thresholds of salty taste showed no association with salty taste preference, sodium intake, and sodium-related dietary behaviors.
These findings suggest that salty taste preference could reflect sodium intake of individuals rather than thresholds of saltiness, and may be used as a simple and effective proxy for usual sodium intake.


sodium intake; taste preference; taste thresholds; dietary behaviors
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