This study tested the extent to which individuals placed on a lowered sodium diet would compensate for the reduced dietary sodium by adding table salt to their food. Eleven students, unaware that their use of saltshakers was being studied, consumed all their meals and snacks in a clinical research center for 13 weeks. During the first three weeks and the last week (week 14), the diet contained approximately 135 mmol/d (135 mEq/24 h) of sodium, which was reduced to approximately 70 mmol/d (70 mEq/24 h) during weeks 4 through 13. A preweighed saltshaker was available for use throughout the entire 14-week period. Evaluations of salt taste preference and intensity scaling were conducted at regular intervals. Subjects compensated only slightly for the reduction of dietary sodium, making up less than 20% of the decrement with increased saltshaker usage. No changes in taste function were found. A substantial reduction in dietary sodium is possible if lowered-sodium foods are consumed in conjunction with ad libitum table salt.
Beauchamp GK, Bertino M, Engelman K. Failure to Compensate Decreased Dietary Sodium With Increased Table Salt Usage. JAMA. 1987;258(22):3275-3278. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400220075040