Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Donald J. McMahon


Donald J. McMahon


Marie K. Walsh


Robert E. Ward


Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in America. In 2008, not only are more than 0.6 million people dying of heart disease, but it is estimated that almost 1 in every 4 Americans with heart disease die. Consuming excess salt has been associated with increasing risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke. Americans consume 40% more salt than the USDA recommended level -- 1500 mg. Therefore, it is important to reduce the amount of salt in foods such as cheese to reduce salt consumption that may lead to heart disease.

However, simply reducing salt level in cheese produces many defects in cheese for flavor, texture, and shelf life; for example, reduced sodium cheese is very soft, bitter, less salty, and has a strong off-flavor and shorter shelf life. Potassium chloride (KCl) has a similar structure and salty flavor as sodium chloride (salt) and partial replacement of salt with potassium chloride can be used to lower salt content in foods. Moreover, potassium can lower the blood pressure and risk of heart disease or stroke. Thus, potassium chloride is a potential substitution for salt in cheese.

Our study aimed to investigate effects of different salting levels, rates, and substitution with KCl on cheese composition and whey expulsion. Whey expulsion is the process of water coming out from cheese. It influences cheese texture and composition by affecting the amount of water in cheese. We found that 1) decreasing salt levels caused less whey expulsion and increase cheese moisture, 2) applying salt at a slower rate delayed the whey expulsion, and 3) partial replacement of salt with KCl did not change whey expulsion, moisture, or pH of cheese.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.

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