True or false? Most of the salt in our diet is added to food at the table or when cooking
False – Just 10-15% of the salt we eat comes from salt we add when we’re cooking or at the table.
Over 75% of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods that we buy, including bread, cheese, processed meat (eg: ham, bacon, sausages), ready-made vegetable dishes, cakes, biscuits, pastries, crisps, salted nuts, cook-in sauces (eg: curry paste).
A high salt intake is associated with high blood pressure, which is in turn linked to various health problems including strokes, heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis and obesity.
Adults should try to limit their salt intake to less than 6 grams (one teaspoon) a day. Children should have much less salt than adults.
Since salt is found in processed foods, it is easy to reach the 6g limit just by eating everyday foods.
- 60g bran flakes & milk = 1g salt
- 50g bag crisps = 1g salt
- 2 slices bread & 2 slices ham = 1.5g salt
- Half a 10″ pizza = 1.5g salt
- 4 digestive biscuits = 1g salt
TOTAL* = 6g salt
Studies have shown that adults are eating 8.6g of salt a day (average).
To reduce the amount of salt in your diet, try to choose fewer processed foods or choose salt-reduced varieties of your favourite foods. Try to flavour foods with other condiments, such as herbs and spices, vinegar or lemon juice.
For more information about recommendations, salt in our diet and its effect on our health – go to Action on Salt
Salt Awareness Week 2012 (starts 23rd March)
*Amounts are approximate