September 23, 2015 at 10:38 AM EDT

New Study Shows Replacing Salt with Spices and Herbs Can Cut Sodium Intake by Nearly 1,000 mg a Day

Twenty-week behavioral study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows cooking with spices and herbs can cut sodium by boosting flavor

SPARKS, Md., Sept. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent research from the University of California, San Diego and Johns Hopkins University suggests cooking with spices and herbs could close the 1,000 mg gap between the amount of sodium Americans consume on a daily basis, and the amount recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The study was funded by the McCormick Science Institute, the independent research arm of McCormick & Company Incorporated (NYSE: MKC), a global leader in flavor.

In the study, entitled "Effects of a behavioral intervention that emphasizes spices and herbs on adherence to recommended sodium intake," researchers taught adults to flavor their food with spices and herbs instead of salt.  At the end of the trial, the intervention group, who had tools including spices and herbs as well as cooking demonstrations, were able to reduce sodium intake by an average of 956.8 mg/day – which is about 1/3 of the average sodium adults consume each day.1,2  

Dr. Cheryl Anderson, lead researcher and author of this study, was also a member of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The Committee's report emphasized a continued concern over high intake of sodium in the American diet.  On average, American adults consume 3,300 mg of sodium a day, which is 1,000 mg more than the 2,300 mg/d recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other health authorities.

"This study demonstrates that a multi-faceted behavioral program including spices and herbs for meal preparation is effective in reducing daily sodium intake," said Dr. Cheryl Anderson, associate professor, University of California, San Diego.  "Teaching consumers to prepare food using spices and herbs with reduced salt is a positive solution that supports a higher quality diet while still enjoying great tasting food."

"Cutting back on sodium is a message Americans have been hearing for many years," said Dr. Hamed Faridi, McCormick's Chief Science Officer.  "One of the main concerns with reducing salt content is that often times it impacts flavor, which makes eating less satisfying.  Thankfully, adding spices and herbs can easily solve that problem."

The McCormick Kitchens have inspiring tips and recipes to flavor low-sodium meals.  For more information visit or

About McCormick
McCormick & Company, Incorporated is a global leader in flavor. With $4.2 billion in annual sales, the company manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the entire food industry – retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses. Every day, no matter where or what you eat, you can enjoy food flavored by McCormick. McCormick Brings Passion to Flavor™.  For more information, visit

About The McCormick Science Institute
The McCormick Science Institute is an independent research-driven organization whose mission is to support scientific research and disseminate information on the potential health benefits of culinary herbs and spices to all stakeholders including consumers and health professionals. The Institute is led by nutrition scientists and guided by a Scientific Advisory Council consisting of internationally-renown scientists and health professionals from leading research institutions.  Learn more at


  1. Centers for Disease Control, Trends in the prevalence of excess dietary sodium intake - United States, 2003-2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly. Rep 2013;62:1021–5.
  2. Anderson CA, Cobb LK, Miller ER 3rd, Woodward M, Hottenstein A, Chang AR, Mongraw-Chaffin M, White K, Charleston J, Tanaka T, Thomas L, Appel LJ. Effects of a behavioral intervention that emphasizes spices and herbs on adherence to recommended sodium intake: results of the SPICE randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug 12. pii: ajcn100750. [Epub ahead of print]

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Lori Robinson (410) 527-6004 or
Stefanie Woodhouse (410) 527-8743 or 

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SOURCE McCormick & Company, Inc.