Why it's easy to consume too much salt
If you’re interested in food and its impact on your health then you are probably aware that a high salt intake may lead to a number of health problems such as high blood pressure which triples your risk of heart disease and stroke. But how do you know whether you’re eating too much?
Well if your typical diet includes packaged foods such as bread, cheese, breakfast cereals, pizza and baked beans with perhaps the odd packet of crisps or salted nuts then you are likely to be eating more salt than your body needs. In fact in the UK we consume a daily average of 9-12 grams which is well above the government target of just 6g (equivalent to just over a teaspoon) for a healthy adult.
The good news is, however, that many of the food manufacturers as well as a number of our major supermarkets are beginning to bow to the pressure from consumer groups and are reducing the salt content of their products. There is still more work to be done but the likes of food companies such as Kelloggs have reduced the salt in some of their most popular products, cornflakes being one.
Strangely it is these staple foods (such as breakfast cereals and bread) which may not even taste salty that are major contributors to our daily salt intake. Did you know that by eating six slices of bread you’ll be consuming a third or more of your recommended daily salt intake? And amazingly some breakfast cereals contain more salt per 100g than the equivalent amount of crisps!
So what can you do to keep your salt levels in check? Well, first and foremost read the food label! Salt is sodium and chloride, but you may notice that many food manufacturers refer only to sodium on their labels. In order to get the salt equivalent you simply multiple by 2.5.
In terms of the amount per 100g. 0.5g of sodium and 1.25 of salt is a high level while 0.1g of sodium and 0.25 of salt is a reasonable amount.
Top Tips for reducing your salt intake