The recommended daily allowance of salt is currently 6g per adult. However, some people feel that this is still too high.
A group called Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) has said that if the World Health Organization’s recommended amount of 5g per day was achieved it would save an additional 4 millions lives each year from stroke and heart problems. CASH are actually pushing for a 4g RDA to be set.
Salt, when consumed in excess, raises blood pressure which is a trigger for stroke and heart disease. Research has shown that people who consume 10g of salt per day are 25% more likely to suffer from a stroke and 20% more likely to develop heart disease. Heart disease and stroke are still two of the top causes of early death, and many feel that these conditions are more easily avoided than cancer.
The biggest problem for the consumer is poor food labeling. Many people buy ready meals but have no idea how much salt is contained in them. The packaging often refers to sodium (1 g of sodium is approx. 2.5g of salt) but then these figures are often per 100g and portions are sometimes divided.
“All the evidence now points that the target should be set lower. Getting it below 6g would give more benefit. We knew it was important to cut salt intake and we wanted a target that the food industry would accept. But now it’s clear that the UK target should be lowered.” Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of CASH
However, it is all very well saying that the government guidelines should be lower than the 6g that they are today, but those that are putting themselves at risk are already ignoring those guidelines and consuming much more than the 6g per day. A 4g RDA will probably have little impact unless it is combined with a renewed educational campaign and much stricter rules for the food industry.
Consensus Action on Salt and Health
(CASH) is a group of specialists concerned with salt and its effects on health. It is successfully working to reach a consensus with the food industry and Government over the harmful effects of a high salt diet, and bring about a reduction in the amount of salt in processed foods as well as salt added to cooking, and the table. CASH is supported by 22 expert scientific members.
To learn more about what CASH are doing visit their website: www.actiononsalt.org.uk.