Most people don’t worry about their salt intake, should you?

Most people don’t worry about their salt intake, should you?

Did you know the average amount of salt in processed foods has gone up by 9% over the last 10 years and is estimated to be responsible for 2000 more deaths and 6000 more strokes and heart attacks each year in Australia in 2011 compared to 2008?

No one wants to deal with the salt issue because we feel a little overwhelmed already at keeping fat and sugar at bay and we like salt.
Many people tell me they don’t eat much salt, which is usually not the case. If you don’t add salt to food and cooking, you have only reduced your intake by 25% because most of it comes from packaged foods.

Just because your blood pressure is ok now, doesn’t mean it isn’t slowly on its way up via a gradual hardening of your arteries over time. Blood pressure reduces with age in traditional cultures that don’t use much salt like the Kalahari Bushmen (and women). In the West our blood pressure typically rises with age with one in 4 of us on hypertensive medication after 60.

If we were to spend 1-2 % of the money Aussies spend on medications to target a salt reduction in processed foods, we would get the same effect at much, much less cost.

There are 3 barriers to this simple solution: the Food & Grocery Council of Australia that represent the processed food industry, Our own Governments lack of motivation to mandate sodium limits for the sake of the health of the people it represents and our own ‘it-won’t-happen-to-me-attitude”.

If you are curious – check out the sodium content of foods in your pantry. An achievable start is to aim for 400mg sodium per 100g . The Heart Foundation recommends 120mg of less for people that have already had a heart attack or stroke or for the uber-keen.

By the way, did you know that there is more salt in Corn Flakes and Rice Bubbles than potato chips? Compare the packets.

Check out an ABC report on this topic