In America, the intake of salt has been studied. The group that was studied had at least two risk factors for developing heart disease. This group participated in a study on the reduction of cardiovascular risk. The researchers have been looking at the eating habits of the group of participants, in combination with a particular gene, which affects the taste.Gene
As genes are related to all processes in the body, there is also a gene which regulates the perceived taste. For this gene, there are certain genotypes. The difference in these genotypes makes the difference in taste experience between you and your neighbor. A certain combination ensures, for example, that you experience a bitter taste more intense or less intense than average.
Taste and salt
The researchers believe that increased salt intake is the counterpart to the intense experience of a bitter taste. So this means that when someone experiences a stronger taste of bitterness, more salt will be used to counter the bitter taste. There are also a number of other factors that can affect the taste and food such as smoking, weight, age and the use of medications for blood pressure. So the difference in taste due to genetics is not the only reason for consuming larger amounts of salt.
What can we do with this knowledge?
By knowing the genotype of a patient, a dietitian can know if the patient has a predisposition to eat more salt. This can help dietitians to compose a diet for cardiac patients, for example.
The consumption of more salt than prescribed by the ‘disk of five’ is a risk factor for the development of high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.