all kinds of processed meat products, such as ham sausage, lunch meat and so on, will be very salty. High salt is a health risk factor that can not be ignored by modern people – whether at home or abroad, many people’s salt intake is much higher than the recommended “controlled intake”. The most direct and obvious harm of high salt diet is to raise blood pressure, so reducing salt is the core of “diet therapy program” for hypertension. With more and more processed foods,
have attracted more and more attention. In the United States, 77% of the salt people eat comes from processed food, and 20% of it comes from processed meat. Whether it’s ham sausage, lunch meat or meatballs, it’s always salty from the supermarket. “Salt reduction” is becoming more and more attractive in the market. Why do these foods still need to add so much salt? The answer to
is: in addition to producing salty taste, salt in meat products has a more important function! First of all, salt is a preservative. Meat products are easy to be contaminated by bacteria. Some bacteria or their toxins have strong pathogenicity. High salt can inhibit the growth of bacteria. Of course, the amount of salt that can be added to food will also be restricted, and it is impossible to be too salty. So, in addition to salt, we need other preservatives. For example, the most effective preservative for botulinum is nitrite. If it is not controlled, it will produce botulinum toxin after death, which is one of the most toxic substances in nature. So, no matter how much consumers hate nitrite, it’s generally used in meat products. However, Listeria and lactic acid bacteria can be controlled by sodium lactate and sodium diacetate combined with salt. On the one hand, sodium also exists in these preservatives; on the other hand, if the salt consumption is reduced, more other preservatives need to be added, which is more reluctant by consumers. Second, salt is needed to improve the quality of meat products. Processed meat products need to be combined with as much water as possible to have a good taste. To combine more water, on the one hand, salt is needed to make the muscle fiber absorb water and expand, so that the absorbed water can be firmly grasped by the muscle and will not be lost in the subsequent heating. On the other hand, the protein in the meat needs to be dissolved and combined to form a protein glue, and the water is fixed in the glue formed by these proteins. The more protein you dissolve, the more water you bind. Salt can promote the dissolution of more protein, which is usually used about 2% in ham sausage meat products – this is already very salty, but it is not high enough from the perspective of water retention, and phosphate with stronger water holding capacity is usually added. However, although phosphorus is also a human element, people get enough phosphorus from their normal diet, so they don’t want to add more phosphorus. If
want to reduce the salt content in meat products, it is necessary to solve the problems of antisepsis and water retention at the same time. To solve the problem of
, we can reduce the chance of introducing bacteria by controlling the technological process, and then use a variety of preservatives to reduce the total amount of preservatives. Many people are upset when they see “multi preservatives”. In fact, to inhibit different pathogenic bacteria, the efficiency of different preservatives is not the same. Reasonable combination of various preservatives can reduce the total amount of preservatives. In addition, the chemical structure and properties of potassium chloride and salt are quite similar. The use of potassium chloride to replace part of salt can also reduce the amount of salt. For healthy people, the amount of potassium in the regular diet is far away from the “harmful” amount, so in addition to those who need to limit potassium intake due to specific diseases, it is also a good plan to replace salt with potassium chloride.
from the technical point of view, high pressure treatment is a potential direction. The “high pressure treatment” in food technology is to put the food in soft packaging and process it at several thousand atmospheres for a certain time. This processing method does not need to add other ingredients, does not need heating or only needs to be heated to dozens of degrees, which is more easily accepted by consumers. After high pressure treatment, the number of bacteria in food is greatly reduced, which can achieve certain sterilization function. In addition, after such high pressure treatment, the water holding capacity of meat was also significantly enhanced. Some experiments have shown that 1.5% salt can show the water holding capacity of 2.5% salt under conventional processing after 300 MPa pressure treatment (approximately equivalent to 3000 atmospheric pressure). One of the difficulties of high pressure treatment of
is that the color of some proteins will be lightened and the appearance of “over heating” will appear. And this kind of white color phenomenon is not liked by consumers – nitrite in meat products, in addition to anti-corrosion, it also plays a “color protection” role, that is, to avoid meat discoloration in high temperature heating. But if the pressure is not high enough, it can not achieve enough water retention effect. The adoption of
and “stiff front meat” is helpful to solve this problem. The so-called stiff front meat is the meat after slaughtering and before the body becomes cold and stiff. This rigid process is accompanied by the production of large amounts of lactic acid in meat. Lactic acid leads to the increase of acidity of meat, the decrease of electric charge of protein in meat, and the change of protein molecules from extension to contraction, the water absorption will decrease. The addition of lactic acid to the meat product before the addition of salt can make the meat more prone to water absorption if it is in a state of inhibition. Some experiments have shown that such meat can still obtain satisfactory water absorption performance after pressure treatment without causing protein discoloration.