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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Remove excess salt from our diet

3rd February 2009

The Canadian Medical Association Journal makes the case for significantly reducing salt in our diets.


Salt was once the commodity of exchange. Now it is a “commodity of disease and death.”

People underestimate how much of it they consume and the harm that it can do in terms of high blood pressure.

We need about 0.5g of salt a day for good health but the average person in the industrialised world consumes nearer 10g and in Japan that rises to 15g a day. Meanwhile, in contrast, Indians in the Amazon consume nearer 1g per day.

Consequently, while being one of the world’ healthier nations, the Japanese have high rates of hypertension and stroke.

Salt is not necessary and those who do not add it to food often notice flavours more.

The link between salt and high blood pressure is clear but by reducing it by a median of 4.4 g per day can significantly lower blood pressure.

Reduction of salt intake is an important cornerstone of hypertension management and if a nation can be persuaded to cut its salt intake, the reduction in cardiovascular events would be significant.

Action is needed on several fronts: physicians can advocate for change from food processing and restaurant industries; there can be less salt used in food and clearer labelling on packaging.

Doctors can also encourage people to reduce salt intake.

However, consumers should also act; by avoiding food with high salt content whether in shops or restaurants.

“We should not be forced to eat salt.”


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