The taste of KCl – What a difference a sugar makes

Natalie Ben Abu, Daniel Harries, Hillary Voet, Masha Y. Niv*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Dramatic increase in NaCl consumption lead to sodium intake beyond health guidelines. KCl substitution helps reduce sodium intake but results in a bitter-metallic off-taste. Two disaccharides, trehalose and sucrose, were tested in order to untangle the chemical (increase in effective concentration of KCl due to sugar addition) from the sensory effects. The bitter-metallic taste of KCl was reduced by these sugars, while saltiness was enhanced or unaltered. The perceived sweetness of sugar, regardless of its type and concentration, was an important factor in KCl taste modulation. Though KCl was previously shown to increase the chemical activity of trehalose but not of sucrose, we found that it suppressed the perceived sweetness of both sugars. Therefore, sensory integration was the dominant factor in the tested KCl-sugar combinations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalFood Chemistry
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Lior Peri for help with the preparation of the solutions and the performance of the experiments, Dr. Zvi Hayouka and lab members, Dr. Einav Malach and Shier Cohen-Amin for technical assistance, and Michal Poplinger for helpful discussions. Trehalose was a gift of Takanobu Higashiyama, Hayashibara Company, Japan. This work was supported by Israel Science Foundation grant No. 494/16 and ISF-NSFC joint research program (grant No. 2463/16 ) to MYN and the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food and Environment scholarship to excellent MSc students to NBA. The Fritz Haber research center is supported by the Minerva Foundation , Munich, Germany.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bitterness
  • Chemical activity
  • Potassium chloride
  • Salt
  • Sensory integration
  • Sucrose
  • Taste enhancement
  • Taste masking
  • Trehalose


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