22nd December 2021
Excess sodium in the diet has been found to increase blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease (1). With most of our sodium intake coming from salt, the government has issued a recommended maximum intake of 6g/day (1 teaspoon) for adults. However, it can be difficult to know how to put this into practice (2). This article explores the hidden sources of salt in our diets and ways to keep within the recommended daily amount.
Most of us know that we should add less salt to our food during cooking and at the table, however you might be surprised to learn how much hidden salt is in your diet. Table 1 shows the most common hidden sources of salt in our diet.
Whilst the government is trying to get salt levels down in processed foods, it’s our responsibility to ensure we choose foods which are low in salt (3).
Table 1: The leading sources of hidden salt in our diets (4)
Below is the typical day’s food intake for an adult along with the salt content. It shows how easy it is to consume more than the recommended daily amount of 6g (1 teaspoon) salt by dinner time.
Below are simple ways to reduce your salt intake and stay within the daily recommended salt target of 6g (1 teaspoon).
1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). CVD prevention: detecting and treating hypertension. Available from: https://stpsupport.nice.org.uk/cvd-prevention-hypertension/index.html
2.Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Salt and Health. 2003. Available from: www.sacn.gov.uk
3.Public Health England (PHE). Salt reduction targets for 2024. 2020. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915406/2024_salt_reduction_targets_070920-FINAL-1.pdf
4.Action for Salt. Hide and Seek 2020. Available from: http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/awareness/hide-and-seek-2020/
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