Salt is another of those issues which have been given a great deal of media attention. Many of us enjoy the taste of salty foods and have become accustomed to adding salt to food during cooking or consumption.

But, you can have too much salt. Like most things, salt is fine in moderation but can cause health problems when taken to excess. And one of the biggest problems is high blood pressure which is a precursor of heart disease and strokes.

The Food Standards Agency has advised people to reduce their salt consumption to no more than 6 grams a day. But the reality is that we consume much more than that.

How much is 6 grams? It equates to a single teaspoon. And because salt is present in the vast majority of our foods it is very easy to go over that amount. Even foods that you might not think of as being ‘salty’ can be high in salt, for example, baked beans or pasta sauces.

This can also apply to ‘healthy’ meals which appear to be low fat and low calorie but are actually quite high in salt.

Most of the salt we ingest in already present in our food which is something to bear in mind when food shopping. This means not only reading about salt content but understanding what it means and how it applies to you.

So what is the best way of doing this?

To start with, make sure you compare two similar products but be aware that portion sizes do vary between different brands. Choose two items which show the amount of salt per 100 grams and pick the one with the lowest amount of salt. Even if there is a tiny difference between the two it is still better to go for the one with the lowest salt content.

Any reduction in salt intake is good however minimal it may seem.

When looking at salt content on the back of a packet or tin, look for the amount per 100 grams and then compare this to the amount of salt for the full portion.

For example, half a 415g tin of soup may contain 1.30g of salt – but in fact it contains 2.6g of salt (full portion).

Note: babies and children require less salt than adults so keep this in mind if you are shopping for a family. High salt intake can damage their kidneys which are less able to deal with this than those of an adult.

Aim for 2 to 3 grams of salt for a very young child and up to 5 grams for a pre-teen. Teenagers should stick to the same amounts for an adult.

Food Labelling Guide Index:

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved