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Salt intake

Global campaign urges food makers to decrease salt content of manufactured foods

Friday, October 06, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: salt intake, salt guidelines, processed foods

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(NewsTarget) Sodium levels in most manufactured foods need to be lower, according to the World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), an effort from 194 medical experts in 48 countries to pressure food companies to lower the salt content of prepared food.

WASH's campaign occurs at the same time that a WHO (World Health Organization) summit is taking place in Paris to discuss the role of salt in global health. The WHO summit began today.

Research from a wide variety of sources has shown the negative effects of high sodium intake, according to the WASH group. In fact, many scientists are convinced that high salt intake is directly responsible for hypertension and high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a main risk factor for cardiovascular disease – something that reportedly causes up to 50 percent of European deaths each year.

WASH went on to state that "it is estimated that reducing salt intake by 6 grams a day could lead to a 24 percent reduction in deaths from strokes and an 18 percent reduction in deaths from coronary heart disease, thus preventing approximately 2.6 million stroke and heart attack deaths each year worldwide."

In the United States, the UK and Ireland, roughly 80 percent of salt intake comes from eating processed foods, with the remaining 20 percent coming from meat and meat products. As a result, WASH believes that persuading international food companies to reduce the salt content in processed foods could save lives.

In answering the food industry on reasons why salt content cannot be reduced across the board in many countries around the world, WASH project coordinator Naomi Campbell said, "Why is it OK for British people to have more salt in their Kentucky Fried Chicken Twister than people living in France? These huge variations in salt contents show that the excuses of the food industry - that it is technically too difficult to reduce salt, and that customers will not accept the reductions - are rubbish."

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