Shaving salt, saving lives

October 25, 2011

Governments around the world could save huge health costs and avert millions of early deaths if they introduced laws to cut salt levels in food, US researchers claimed.
Shaving 3 grams off the daily salt intake could prevent up to 66,000 strokes, 99,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths in the United States, while saving $24 billion in health costs per year, researchers reported in New England Journal of Medicine.
Salt, which contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease, is widely overused in many parts of the world. Even the WHO recommendation of 5 grams a day is far more than we actually need, which is only around 1.5 grams. In fact, around 75 to 80 percent of it — comes from salt added to food from food manufacturers and only around 20 percent comes from the salt cellar or the salt we use in cooking. Experts urged to impose law for food manufactures and start programmes to increase awareness among people who indulge in processed food.
Food manufacturers use salt to enhance the flavour of food that might otherwise be tasteless, to increase thirst and then seek to quench it with fizzy drinks, and also to boost profits from meat products, which are injected with a solution of salted water to plump them up and add weight. Cutting salt intake substantially reduces blood pressure, helping to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A 2007 study which analysed all the available evidence at the time found that reducing salt intake around the world by 15 percent could prevent almost nine million deaths by 2015. So, enjoy food with less salt, stay healthy and enjoy your life.

-With The Daily Star input

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