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Here’s how much salt intake is safe according to WHO

New guidelines target processed, packaged food

SAMAA | - Posted: May 5, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: May 5, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Photo: AFP

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Did you know most people have double the recommended amount of salt daily?  The World Health Organisation recommends 5g of daily salt intake, but many people cross that limit because of processed, junk and readymade restaurant food. This is why there has been a worldwide rise in blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.  High salt consumption leads to the deaths of around three million people from non-communicable diseases each year, the WHO says.  Why is too much salt bad for your health? Salt is made of sodium chloride.  When someone consumes too much sodium, their body starts to retain water. This causes the volume of blood to increase which in turn makes the heart work harder to pump the extra blood. Over time this leads to stress and damage to the heart and blood vessels which is responsible for increasing blood pressure. High blood pressure causes stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney damage.  There is also some evidence -- though limited -- to suggest that too much sodium can lead to growth of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori in the gut, which causes inflammation, ulcers and may increase the risk of stomach cancer.   New WHO guidelines on salt intake The UN health agency released a new set of benchmarks for sodium levels in more than 60 food categories Wednesday.  “Most people don’t know how much sodium they consume, or the risks it poses,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We need countries to establish policies to reduce salt intake and provide people with the information they need to make the right food choices. We also need the food and beverage industry to cut sodium levels in processed foods. "WHO’s new benchmarks give countries and industry a starting point to review and establish policies to transform the food environment and save lives,” Ghebreyesus added. Here are some of the main foods with recommended benchmarks of mg/100g: Cookies, biscuits: 265mgCakes: 205mgPies pastries: 120mgBaked desserts: 100mgPancakes waffles: 330mgSavoury biscuits, rusk: 600mgPeanuts, popcorn: 280mgChips: 500mgOatmeal: 100mgBreakfast cereals: 280Cheese: 190-720Canned food: 225mgPasta, rice, noodles: 230mgIsant noodles: 770mgFrozen pizza, pizza snacks: 450mgSandwiches, burgers, wraps: 430mgButter: 400mgBread products: 330mgFlatbreads (nan, chapati, pita): 320mgCanned fish: 350mgProcessed seafood: 270mgRaw meat products: 230mgWhole muscle meat products: 270-600mgCooked meat: 540mgCured meats: 830mgPickled vegetables (achar): 550mgFrozen vegetables: 180mgFrozen fries: 260mgDips: 360mgComdiments: 650mgCooking sauces: 330mg
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Did you know most people have double the recommended amount of salt daily? 

The World Health Organisation recommends 5g of daily salt intake, but many people cross that limit because of processed, junk and readymade restaurant food.

This is why there has been a worldwide rise in blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. 

High salt consumption leads to the deaths of around three million people from non-communicable diseases each year, the WHO says. 

Why is too much salt bad for your health?

Salt is made of sodium chloride. 

When someone consumes too much sodium, their body starts to retain water. This causes the volume of blood to increase which in turn makes the heart work harder to pump the extra blood. Over time this leads to stress and damage to the heart and blood vessels which is responsible for increasing blood pressure.

High blood pressure causes stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney damage. 

There is also some evidence — though limited — to suggest that too much sodium can lead to growth of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori in the gut, which causes inflammation, ulcers and may increase the risk of stomach cancer.  

New WHO guidelines on salt intake

The UN health agency released a new set of benchmarks for sodium levels in more than 60 food categories Wednesday. 

“Most people don’t know how much sodium they consume, or the risks it poses,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“We need countries to establish policies to reduce salt intake and provide people with the information they need to make the right food choices. We also need the food and beverage industry to cut sodium levels in processed foods.

“WHO’s new benchmarks give countries and industry a starting point to review and establish policies to transform the food environment and save lives,” Ghebreyesus added.

Here are some of the main foods with recommended benchmarks of mg/100g:

  • Cookies, biscuits: 265mg
  • Cakes: 205mg
  • Pies pastries: 120mg
  • Baked desserts: 100mg
  • Pancakes waffles: 330mg
  • Savoury biscuits, rusk: 600mg
  • Peanuts, popcorn: 280mg
  • Chips: 500mg
  • Oatmeal: 100mg
  • Breakfast cereals: 280
  • Cheese: 190-720
  • Canned food: 225mg
  • Pasta, rice, noodles: 230mg
  • Isant noodles: 770mg
  • Frozen pizza, pizza snacks: 450mg
  • Sandwiches, burgers, wraps: 430mg
  • Butter: 400mg
  • Bread products: 330mg
  • Flatbreads (nan, chapati, pita): 320mg
  • Canned fish: 350mg
  • Processed seafood: 270mg
  • Raw meat products: 230mg
  • Whole muscle meat products: 270-600mg
  • Cooked meat: 540mg
  • Cured meats: 830mg
  • Pickled vegetables (achar): 550mg
  • Frozen vegetables: 180mg
  • Frozen fries: 260mg
  • Dips: 360mg
  • Comdiments: 650mg
  • Cooking sauces: 330mg

 
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