Cutting your salt intake by a teaspoon a day could save your life

Daily salt intake allowances ‘were set too high' for people to avoid unnecessary stroke and heart deaths, UK experts are now warning...

The government’s maximum daily salt intake target has been set too high for people to avoid unnecessary stroke and heart deaths, UK experts are warning.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) says the 6g figure was picked as an achievable food industry target. They want a 4g target, but the Food Standards Agency backs its 6g target. In fact, a UK adult averages 8.6g of salt daily.

Too much salt is known to raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Now researchers have shown that people who regularly consume 10g of salt a day increase their stroke risk by nearly a quarter and their heart disease risk by about a fifth.

Given that stroke ends in death for one in three, and that heart disease kills one in five who have it, sticking to recommended salt intakes has the potential to save millions of lives, say the researchers.

Based on their results, they estimate that keeping daily salt intake to a maximum of 5g at the current population level could avert 1.25 million deaths from stroke and almost three million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.

Chairman of Cash, Professor Graham MacGregor, said: ‘All the evidence now points that the target should be set lower. Getting it below 6g would give more benefit.’

He said the 6g figure, set by the government’s expert advisers back in 1994, had been ‘plucked out of the air’ because the evidence at the time was not that good.


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