Salt is back in the news again after the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) claimed that one in seven stomach cancers could be prevented if consumers kept to the daily limit of 6g of salt per day.
Unfortunately, it is not just a question of cutting out salt which we add to food whilst cooking or at the table, but making sure we limit the amount we get in foods such as bread or bacon.
So, how do we measure how much salt we eat on a daily basis?
The WCRF state that most salt is found in processed foods so try to cook as much food from fresh as possible and then you have total control of what goes into your meals.
If you are finding that food tastes bland, add more herbs and spices to your cooking. You could also choose a potassium based salt instead of sodium chloride (eg Lo-Salt).
Both the WCRF and Cancer Research UK are calling for better food labelling to alert consumers to the ‘hidden’ salt in foods.
In the meantime, you can follow these guidelines which will help you to understand the nutrition guideline labels, giving you an idea of what is considered a lot of salt and what is considered a little:
When you read a nutrition label on food packaging always look at the amount per 100g.
So per 100g, a lot of salt is 1.25g but a little is 0.25g.
You may find that sodium is listed rather than salt – if this is the case, you need to multiply the amount of sodium by 2.5. In which case the above amounts would be listed as a lot 0.5g and a little 0.1g.
Looking at a couple of labels to hand, a well-known brand of drinking chocolate contains 3.48g of salt per 100g and a leading supermarket’s Fruit and Fibre contains 0.8g of salt per 100g.
For many people it would come as a surprise to even find salt in these supposedly ‘sweet’ foods and although you would not necessarily eat these amounts in one serving, it is well worth reading the labels and carefully considering the choices you are making when it comes to planning your meals.
Pippa Mitchell, our Nutritional Therapist can help you with any dietary advice you may have. Please contact her at Luck’s Yard Clinic on 01483 527945.