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The impact of salt intake on health and nutrition

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Excessive intake of salt is linked to the increase Excessive intake of salt is linked to the increased consumption of highly salted processed foods

This article looks at the progress of salt reformulation in the UK as a strategy to reduce population blood pressure and therefore cardiovascular disease.Practitioners are reminded of the current guidelines for salt intake and foods which contribute most dietary salt to the diets of adults and children.

What is salt?

Salt is the common name for sodium chloride, and comprises 40% sodium and 60% chloride,1 with sodium intakes being the component associated with high blood pressure.2Salt supplies about 90% of sodium to our diets1. Whilst salt and sodium aren’t interchangeable terms, it is common that ‘salt’ is used when discussing health outcomes and it is the term understood by the general public.

Salt and Health

The relationship between salt and high blood pressure has been well documented. High levels of salt intake are linked to hypertension, which in turn is a cause of stroke and cardiovascular disease (CVD) as well as kidney disease.3,4 High salt intake has also been linked to osteoporosis, kidney stones and stomach cancer.1

The British Heart Foundation estimated that CVD causes 177,000 deaths in the UK, each year, of which 44,000 will be under the age of 75 and costs the UK economy an estimated £19bn annually.5

What are the current dietary salt intake recommendations?

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