After data on diet and cancer incidents in the UK, the World Cancer Research Fund (WRCF) advises that people follow the recommended daily maximum for dietary salt intake, which is 6.0 grams or about one teaspoon, reports. The latest figures from the Food Standard Agency indicate that Brits consume about 8.6 grams of salt per day, about three-fourths of which is taken in by way of eating processed food.

The WCRF stressed that salt consumption is still too much for a healthy diet, even though trends have shown that people have reduced their salt intake in the past 12 years. From data gleaned from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Public Health Wales Cancer Incidence, ISD Scotland Cancer Statistics, and the Norther Island Cancer Registry, the WCRF was able to estimate that one in seven cases of stomach cancer every year could be prevented if people were to stick to the recommended levels.

Apart from a reduced risk of stomach cancer, lower salt intake may prevent other issues like high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.

If you’re going to start cutting some of the salt from your diet, however, here are some tips:

  • Avoid processed food and bought bread. As already mentioned, processed food accounts for about three quarters of the salt consumed in the UK; store-bought bread, on the other hand, accounts for about one fifth of the salt consumed in the UK. These actually account for a greater salt intake than salty snacks do.
  • Read food labels. Make sure you know just how much salt goes into your food.
  • Don’t confuse salt intake with sodium intake. To quote, “Sometimes UK food labels don't show list salt, they list sodium content, as they do in the US. Salt is sodium chloride, and the sodium accounts for 40 percent of the weight. So to work out how much salt is in the food whose label lists the sodium content, simply multiply the sodium content by 2.5: thus 0.4 g of sodium x 2.5 = 1 g of salt.” This would make the recommended daily intake for sodium 2.4 grams.

(Photo by kfergos via Flickr Creative Commons)

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