The Truth About Salt Consumption
Abstaining from the salt shaker may not be enough to keep your salt intake low, research suggests.
An astonishing 70 percent of salt consumption comes from packaged foods, such as ready meals and from eating out, scientists have found.
Studies have been advising people for years to reduce salt in their home-cooked food, and not adding any when they get to the dinner table.
But, in a new study, carried out by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, suggests most of the salt in our diet comes from sources which we do not control.
Sodium found in salt plays a significant role in balancing and maintaining the fluids in tissues and the blood.
If people consume too much salt, it can lead to issues like high blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke.
The NHS recommends that adults consume only 6g of salt each day – or one teaspoon’s worth, which contains around 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
The study, which was published in the Circulation medical journal, included 450 people from across the United States, for four days.
The experts, found the participants consumed an average of 3,501 mg of sodium per day – which is more than 50 percent than the recommended daily maximum.
The researchers that found salt added to food outside of the home was the leading source of sodium, at 71 percent, and that salt found naturally in food was the next highest, at 14.2 percent.
Sodium from salt added in home cooked food only accounted for 5.6 percent and salt added to food at the table only made up 4.9 percent.
Dr. Lisa Harnack the lead on the study said, “Telling patients to lay off the salt shaker isn’t enough.” She continued, “If you’re aiming to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of fewer than 2,300 milligrams per day, you’ll need to choose foods wisely when grocery shopping and dining out.
She then suggested, “For packaged foods, the nutrition fact panel may be useful in identifying lower sodium products, and for menu items, diners can request sodium content information. Also, if you frequently add salt to food at the table or in home food preparation, consider using less.”
So keep an eye on your salt intake or your healthy lifestyle could be all for nothing!