Has consumers’ love for salt been a personal choice or one that industry has forced upon them? Action on Salt’s Sonia Pombo explores.
Salt is in everything, and the majority of salt we consume is already in the food we buy. While some might consider it an innocuous ingredient that merely enhances the taste of our food, its excessive use is causing long-term damage to our health.
There is no denying that too much is bad for our health, given overwhelming evidence supporting the correlation between salt and high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts you at serious risk of heart disease and strokes, which are leading causes of death and ill health in the world. More than one in four people in England are afflicted with high blood pressure; yet given that half of the adult population do not know what their blood pressure is, and as it is relatively symptomless, it is a particularly challenging public health issue. Reducing salt is one of the most effective ways to lower your blood pressure.
How much is too much?
Recommendations in the UK state adults should have no more than 6g/day of salt (which equates to approximately one teaspoon). On average, however, we are eating about a third more than this,5 which might not sound like a lot, but every extra gram can significantly impact long-term health.