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Sunkist and top chefs release new S'alternative research

Sunkist Growers released the findings of its S'alternative research revealing that the use of Sunkist lemons may allow for significant salt reduction in recipes while boosting flavor. The research concluded that lemons can be used to reduce salt by as much as 75 percent.

salternThe taste tests examined the use of Sunkist lemon juice and lemon zest in various dishes, including meat, grains, soups and salads. After creating control dishes, recipes were re-created using salt in decreasing amounts along with lemon juice and zest to find the ideal combination. Test dishes were made adding lemon juice only, lemon zest only, and a combination of lemon juice and lemon zest to the reduced-salt dishes.

"While Sunkist has put a lot of energy behind informing consumers about our sodium-reduction strategies using lemons, this research gives us exciting results that show just how effective Sunkist lemons can be in reducing people's salt intake without compromising flavor," Joan Wickham, Sunkist advertising and public relations manager, said in a press release.

With the average American consuming twice the recommended amount of sodium, and high sodium intake linked to high blood pressure, cancer and osteoporosis, increased use of lemons could play a major role in reducing Americans' dependence on the salt shaker. For many years, Sunkist has been encouraging consumers to choose all-natural lemons over salt to flavor their food as part of the Sunkist S'alternative program, which provides low-sodium tips and S'alternative recipes using Sunkist lemons.

While each taste test participant quickly identified the no-salt added recipes, the use of Sunkist lemons with reduced sodium produced a more flavorful dish. Most participants actually preferred recipes made with reduced salt and added lemon juice and zest to the original full-salt recipes.

Additional research results included the following:

  • Using lemon juice and zest in vegetable recipes allows for a potential 75 percent reduction in sodium per recipe
  • Incorporating lemon juice and zest in recipes for pork tenderloin, tuna, halibut and salad dressing allows for a potential 50 percent reduction in sodium per recipe
  • Adding lemon zest to dry rubs for meats like chicken and beef allows for a potential 30 percent reduction in sodium per recipe

"The results of this research show that flavor and health considerations do not have to be mutually exclusive," said Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos, WACS, AAC, who conducted the study's research along with Chef Michael Makuch from Johnson & Wales University. "Since the use of lemon juice and zest is such a simple tip for chefs of all skill levels, this information could go a long way in combating our excess sodium intake."

Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian nutritionist, Cordon Bleu-certified chef and best-selling author of "Clean Eating for Busy Families," has created new recipes incorporating the optimal blends of Sunkist lemon juice, zest and salt discovered from the taste tests. For those recipes, additional tips, and more information about Sunkist S'alternative, visit www.sunkistsalternative.com.