After sugar, it is time to regulate how much salt is being consumed

Source: The post is based on the article “After sugar, it is time to regulate how much salt is being consumed” published in The Hindu on 22nd May 2023

What is the News?

Indian Council for Medical Research has recommended ways to reduce salt intake by avoiding the addition of salt while cooking rice or preparing the dough, skipping pickles and table salt and going in for salt substitutes. 

What is the impact on health due to excess salt intake?

Salt is needed by our body in small amounts but many of us inadvertently consume way higher amounts of salt than needed. 

A high-salt diet over a period of time can silently damage many of our organs and body functions.

A study from Sweden has shown a connection between salt consumption and atherosclerosis, even in the absence of hypertension. Atherosclerosis is a disease which blocks the blood vessels.

What is the WHO’s target for reducing salt intake?

The World Health Organization had cautioned that the world is off track to achieving its global target of reducing salt intake by 30% by 2025. 

The report shows that only 5% of the WHO member states have mandatory and comprehensive sodium-reducing policies. 

Additionally, 73% of the WHO member states lack the full range implementation of the policies.

For instance, India does not have a national policy but it does have voluntary measures to reduce sodium (salt). Sodium labelling is also not mandatory in India so far.

Note: Implementing highly cost-effective sodium-reducing policies could save an estimated seven million lives globally by 2030.

How are other countries reducing salt consumption?

The U.K. has been the leading country in the world to have reduced salt consumption in the population. Over the last decade, the salt content of bread has been brought down by 30% gradually, without people being aware. This has resulted in preventing thousands of strokes and cardiovascular events. 

What are the recommendations given by WHO to reduce salt intake?

WHO has suggested the following measures to reduce salt intake: 1) reformulation of food to contain less salt, 2) controlled procurement of high sodium food in public institutions like schools, workplaces and hospitals, and 3) labelled promotion of packed foods with low sodium choices and achieving behavioural changes in the population through campaigning in media.

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