Sometimes cutting down on one ingredient – even a little – could make an astonishing difference.
It’s hardly news that salt isn’t great for us. But far too few of us are aware of the enormous difference it makes to our long-term health.
According to The Age, excess salt intake is one of the biggest, most preventable causes of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. In Victoria, it’s responsible for one in every 20 deaths – making it six times more deadly than car accidents.
It has even been tied to osteoporosis.
While it’s always fun to indulge in the occasional serving of salty fish and chips, we know this is just an indulgence. It’s the everyday grocery store ingredients – which we don’t traditionally think of as salty at all – that could be a far bigger threat. This makes it all the more important to check the sodium levels of a product before purchase.
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Now VicHealth calling on food companies to start cutting down on salt as an ingredients in packaged food – particularly bread, processed meats and cereals.
While the World Health Organisation recommends a maximum of five grams of salt per day, many of us take in something closer to 8-9 grams. The organisation has challenged Australia to reduce intake by 30 per cent within the next decade.
It is believed that this tiny reduction could save approximately 800 lives per year – and $50 million in health costs. It would also go a long way in preventing disabilities caused by strokes, heart attacks and other debilitating conditions.
Dr Bruce Bolam from VicHealth said that in Victoria (as with the rest of the country), a doubled salt intake is responsible for “about half the strokes, heart attacks and chronic kidney diseases”.
“It is often not recognised how big a contribution salt makes to the chronic disease burden in Australia and in Victoria.”
He named Vegemite as one common culprit. “When you put that together on your bread, which is usually already pretty salty too, you are looking at a very salty snack”.
How much salt do you think you eat per day? Would you be willing to cut down the salt in your diet, knowing just how big a difference it could make to your long-term health? Or is it one diet concession too many?