Health experts recommend that in the UK adults should consume less than 6g of salt a day. Currently, the average daily intake of salt by adults in the UK is above the recommended maximum. With National Salt Awareness Week upon us, now is as good a time as any to review our diet and cut down our salt intake.

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It probably comes as no surprise to learn that most of us eat far too much salt.  According to the latest annual report on dietary sodium intakes from the Department of Health, the mean estimated salt intake in the UK, derived from urinary sodium excretion, for adults aged 19 to 64 years was 8.1g per day. Although this is now the lowest salt intake of any developed country in the world, we are still failing to meet the target of no more than 6g per day, with some even stating that this target could stand to be lower.

Reducing average salt intake by just 1g/day can prevent at least 2,600 deaths from stroke every year…

With high salt intake responsible for our increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, the Consensus Action on Salt and Health have focused this year’s National Salt Awareness week campaign, held Monday 11th – Sunday 17th March 2013, on salt reduction – “Less salt please”. Reducing average salt intake by just 1g/day can prevent at least 2,600 deaths from stroke every year, plus the additional thousands of health problems that do not result in death.

Many people now know that eating too much salt is detrimental to their health and are looking to cut down. However whilst you may be able to take control of your salt intake when preparing food at home or by reading the labels when shopping. The increasing amount of processed food we eat away from the home can make it difficult to know exactly how much salt you are getting. Even when it comes to food labels, quite often ‘sodium’ is listed on the packaging rather than salt. With 1g of sodium being the equivalent of 2.5g of salt, it can be very easy to go over the limit. The recommendation of less than 6g of salt per day equates to 2.4g/2400mg of sodium per day.

The infographic below has been adapted from a version published by Next Generation Food (to include UK figures) to show the amount of salt contained, in terms of sodium (mg), in popular cereals, bread, soups, fast food, and more. Shockingly, a Burger King Whopper with Cheese contains well over half of the recommended daily amount of sodium for the UK. Such facts definitely call for some food forethought!

Source: New Generation Food

Source: New Generation Food

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