Of the five flavor profiles that comprise the human sense of taste, saltiness is the most difficult to understand. The mineral is both vital for human and animal survival, and potentially deadly in larger quantities. While plant-eating animals are often in danger of not consuming enough salt, 100,000 Americans die every year from too much sodium intake. Scientists have doubled down on finding a solution to the salt problem, by both urging government organizations and food producers to issue salt warnings to consumers, and hunting for a possible alternative to use in place of salt in food and cooking. The Eater team recently visited the scientists at the Monell Center to learn more.
The Monell Center is a non-profit, independent research institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dedicated to studying taste, smell, and chemosensory irritation. Scientists at the Center direct their findings toward advancements across disciples, from health and medicine to the environment to human behavior.