23 February 2013
Don’t add salt
Researchers have said that reducing the amount of salt in our diets could save nearly 20,000 lives in the UK a year. There is hidden salt in many foods and by adding more to our meals we are consuming an unhealthy amount each day.
The current recommended daily allowance of salt is 6g in the UK but this has been revised by the World Health Organisation to 5g.
Study author, Dr Pam Coxson, commented “No matter how we look at it, the story is the same – there will be huge benefits in reducing sodium.”
British GP Ian Campbell, medical director of charity Weight Concern, said, “Salt is a big problem in the UK. It’s a silent killer. Over time consuming too much of it increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. About 80 per cent of our salt intake comes from processed foods, so it can be difficult to avoid.”
He added, “Many people are unaware of where salt is hidden, such as bread, soups, ready meals, even breakfast cereals and mayonnaise. The Government approach has been to encourage food manufacturers to modify the amount of salt in their products. There has
been a reduction but it is taking too long. The Food Standards Agency should consider setting mandatory maximum levels for salt.”
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, added, “Eating too much salt may raise your blood pressure and having high blood pressure increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease. The Government has worked with the food industry to reduce the amount of salt in our food and make labels clearer. But there is still work to be done by everyone because the majority of Brits are still consuming more salt than they should be.”