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New calls for public to take control of dietary salt intake

22 March 2016

New calls for public to take control of dietary salt intake

Adults in England are being urged to check food labels before buying after new findings reveal that maximum daily recommended levels are still being exceeded by almost a third.

In 2014, adults were consuming an average 8g of sugar per day, 2g over the recommended maximum amount. This is according Public Health England’s (PHE) recent report: National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

A significant downward trend in salt intake in adults was observed between 2005-06 and 2008-09. However, there was no significant decrease between 2008-09 and 2014.

Excess salt consumption can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to PHE’s report, a reduction in salt intake from 8g to 6g could prevent over 8000 premature deaths each year and save the NHS over £570 million a year.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said: “The majority of the salt we eat is in everyday foods so it’s important to check labels and choose lower salt options. Many manufacturers and retailers have significantly reduced the salt levels in everyday foods. However, more needs to be done, especially by restaurants, cafes and takeaways.” 

Prof Graham MacGregor Chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) said: “This is a tragedy for public health. The food industry is the biggest and most powerful industry in the world. Most of the foods that it currently provides are very high in salt, fat and sugars, causing strokes, heart failure and heart attacks,obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

“Cameron must take charge and set up robust mechanisms to control the food industry, with regulated targets for salt, sugar and fat. Without this, many more thousands of people will die and suffer unnecessarily, and it will be the final nail in an almost bankrupt NHS.”

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