It’s no secret that Americans need to cut back on their fat and salt intake. But removing the addictive “good stuff” is a serious bummer for our taste buds (even as our hearts and arteries thank us). Scientists think they may have found the answer to this conundrum. Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that by decreasing the porosity in processed food, we crank up the flavor level to 11. That means that food companies can dial down the salt, fat, and oil in their snacks and processed foods without sacrificing flavor.
"Much of the salt that is added to these foods is not released in our mouths where we can taste it, and that means the rest of the salt is wasted," Younsoo Lee told Science World Report. "We wanted to alter porosity in processed food, targeting a certain fat-protein emulsion structure, to see if we could get more of the salt released during chewing. Then food manufacturers won't have to add as much salt as before, but the consumer will taste almost the same amount of saltiness."
Here’s how the amazing shrinking porosity works to trick our taste buds: Shrinking pores in processed foods exposes more surface area, which will increase the “saltiness exposure” our tongues receive when we chew. This way, we can slowly wean ourselves off of our salty and fatty foods addiction.