What is Salty? Is There No Substitute for Salt?


We have been ordered to reduce salt. We don’t eat out much, and I thought I was trying to reduce salt when I cook. However, when it comes to Japanese food, we inevitably use soy sauce, and the amount of salt we use tends to increase.

So, in this post, I would like to look deeper into the taste of “saltyi”.


Sweet but Zero Sugar

Before saltiness, let’s check out the sweetness. Think of Diet Coca-Cola or Pepsi Zero. The taste is a little different from sugar, but it is sweet enough. And the calories are much lower than those of sugar-based products. This is because of the artificial sweeteners and alternative sweeteners that are used in them.

There are many different types of artificial sweeteners. Aspartame and saccharin are names that you may have heard before. Xylitol is also a well-known sweetener for gum. Aside from the good and bad alternative sweeteners, sugar is not the only substance that gives sweetness. There are many others.

No Alternative Salt

So what about salt? Actually, there is no substitute for salt. I’ve never heard of artificial saltiness. The reason why we can’t make a substitute for salt has a lot to do with the human tongue.

Na+ and Cl-

The chemical formula of salt is NaCl. When it dissolves in water, it ionizes into the sodium ion Na+ and the chloride ion Cl-. Both of these ions are important for the taste of salt, which is why no substitute for salt can be made.

Na+ is Saltiness

First of all, salty taste is caused by sodium ions. The taste buds on our tongue have an organ that reacts only to sodium ions. This organ takes in sodium ions and sends a signal to the brain, which makes us feel “salty”.
油脂の味は6番目の基本味か? – “脂肪酸を感知する神経”とその役割を探る
油脂の味は6番目の基本味か? – “脂肪酸を感知する神経”とその役割を探る

When we make a substitute, we think about how to replace it with another ion. Let’s take a look at the periodic table of elements. Many vertically aligned elements have similar properties and are classified in the same group.

In other words, it is a common practice to make salt substitutes by replacing potassium below sodium or lithium above sodium.

KCl and LiCl cannot be Used


The first alternative that was focused on was potassium chloride, KCl. The element potassium is quite abundant on earth. It is the seventh most abundant element in the earth’s crust after sodium, accounting for 2.8%, and it can be obtained inexpensively. The fact that potassium chloride is produced directly as a mineral shows that it is a stable and easy to handle substance.

It would be great if potassium chloride could be used as a substitute for salt, but unfortunately, it does not taste salty. It’s because of an organ that reacts only to sodium ions.


So what about lithium chloride, LiCl? Lithium is the 25th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It is highly reactive and is found in many compounds such as lithium carbonate. It is also found in seawater in certain amounts. And guess what, lithium chloride tastes as salty as salt.

However, lithium chloride cannot be used as a substitute for salt. The only reason is that it is a poison.

Therefore, there is no such thing as another salt flavoring agent that replaces the cations in salt.

Cl- is also very important

The scientific idea is that if you can’t replace the cation, why not replace the anion? There is a substance called sodium acetate CH3COONa, which is a sodium ion with an acetate ion attached to it instead of a chloride ion. This sodium acetate is used as a food additive and is a safe substance.

Reduce Salt Without Alternatives

From the above, we can see that there is no substitute for salt. In other words, we need to reduce salt without relying on substitutes. So, how can we reduce salt in a delicious way?
Tips for Tasty Low Salt Cooking; Good Ingredients for it
How xan we reduce salt in tasty way? Here is great tips and recommended ingredients and food for low salt cooking!


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