Sodium Down, Calcium Up

Media attention has been focusing on dietary sodium levels and calcium intake. Consumers are responding by paying closer attention to food labels, and manufacturers are seeking new ways to address these concerns. At the same time, they are trying to separate themselves from their competition.

The challenge facing the industry as a whole, explains John Brodie, technical service manager, bakery for Innophos Inc., is to reduce sodium levels without sacrificing flavor and texture characteristics, while maintaining production costs. Brodie says one option available to the baked goods market involves the use of specifically designed leavening agents.

In baked goods, there are three main sources of sodium: salt, sodium bicarbonate and sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP). Unfortunately, using salt and sodium bicarbonate replacements can increase ingredient costs and lead to problems with flavor.

However, a non-sodium based multifunctional leavening agent specially formulated with calcium acid pyrophosphate and monocalcium phosphate anhydrous (CAPP/MCP-A) is available that replaces sodium-based, slow-acting leaveners. This proprietary, patented leavening acid contributes to dough conditioning and provides a neutral flavor, fine cell structure and moist, soft texture. It can be used alone or with other leavening acids in cakes, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, frozen dough, dry mixes, self-rising flour and baking powders. When combined with sodium aluminum phosphate (CAPP/MCP-A/SALP), it is ideally suited for refrigerated and frozen dough and freezer-to-oven applications. This combination contributes dough conditioning, a bland taste, partial yeast replacement and reduced proof times in low-sodium applications.

The choice of leavening acid affects sodium and calcium levels in baked goods. Now, it is possible for manufacturers to reduce sodium in formulations without sacrificing taste through proper ingredient selection.

“A New Slow Acting Calcium-based Leavening Acid,” John Brodie, Innophos Inc.,,

—Summary by Elizabeth Mannie, Contributing Ed.

Calcium Phosphate Builds Healthier Bones

Essential for building and maintaining strong bones, calcium also helps regulate the heartbeat, ensures proper blood clotting, is necessary for thyroid function and assists in transmitting nerve impulses. The FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000mg/day. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that calcium intake vary with age and gender. The target for infants less than six months of age is 210mg/day, whereas adults over 51 should ingest 1,200mg/day. The most prominent and publicized symptom of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, a disease common in the elderly; the main symptom is low bone density, which causes bones to become fragile and more susceptible to breakage. Low calcium levels in the diet also will cause blood calcium levels to drop. When levels fall below 100mg/L, calcium is borrowed from the bones thus weakening them.

While calcium has been the subject of a great deal of attention, phosphorous requirements largely have been ignored. Phosphorous is necessary for proper cellular function and is also a major mineral in bones. The RDA for phosphorous is also 1,000mg/day, and the IOM again recommends that intake levels be adjusted according to age and gender.

Studies published by the International Food Additive Council indicate that phosphorous intake in females is deficient for many age groups. The number of women who have phosphorous deficiencies has been decreasing in recent years. However, this number is significantly higher than those who lack calcium.

Calcium and phosphorous should be taken in the diet together. Both minerals are essential for strong bones and teeth. Clinical studies have shown that supplementing women’s diets with calcium phosphate enhances bone health, when compared to calcium alone. Calcium phosphate also has been shown to be a much more effective supplement than calcium carbonate. Calcium phosphate enhanced serum phosphorous levels and increased calcium availability when compared to milk calcium.

“Calcium Phosphate and Building Healthier Bones,” Amr Shaheed, Innophos Inc.,,

—Summary by Rick Stier, Contributing Editor