Tag Archive for salt

Reduced Salt And Food Labels

Salt Cuts – Read the Label

Salt increases blood pressure in 30 percent of the population that does not have high blood pressure. Salt does not increase blood pressure readings in 70 percent of the population that does not already have high blood pressure.

Data suggest that less-well-educated groups, and blacks, are more likely to have high blood pressure than are other groups. This may be related to the higher incidence of obesity, and the lower incidence of balanced diets, in the high-blood-pressure groups.

Government want to control everyone’s salt intake because the groups most at risk are also the groups least likely to take the advice to manage their high blood pressure by cutting down on salt.

There is a difference between wanting to provide information about salt content on menus or controlling salt in packaged foods, verses “control everyone’s salt intake”.

You are always free to tip the salt shaker as heavily as you want. Don’t complain about the nanny state if you can’t even be bothered to season your food to taste.

Cutting Down Salt in Food – shhh – What about sugar?

Food producers are taking a new tack in their long-running effort to sell products with less salt. Instead of offering foods labeled as low salt that few people eat, they are gradually reducing the salt from some of their most popular menu items – but not making a point of it on the lable. Source Wall Street Journal.

This is finally a good step in the right direction and none too soon.

Why not taper the salt content to zero? We’re past the days when it was needed as a preservative. If someone wants the stuff, they can always add it.

This is a great idea. By a slow reduction in salt content people will adjust to it without cutting back on purchases of the product. That will allow producers to make further cuts in salt content until we reach a more healthful level. Unfortunatley restaurants will need to make reductions as well.

The elimination of salt in most prepared food products would be a welcome development. I note with interest that so called chefs on cooking shows seem to use entirely too much salt in preparing their dishes. I have cooked salt free for my entire adult life and find my food as flavorable as any other food preparations. Salt is far from the only effective seasoning. The use of proper herbs and other non-salt spices can provide a tasty and enjoyable

But what about the sugar?

It matters not to me how much salt is removed from prepared foods. They can remove all of it as far as I’m concerned. I can always replace it, and then some, at home. But I can’t remove the sugar that food manufacturers add to foods that normally would not require sugar at all. That is, I don’t know of any recipes that call for putting sugar in tomato soup. But Campbell’s sure adds it. And so do almost every other soup and prepared food manufacturers. And it can’t be removed when you bring it home. I’m much more concerned about the arbitrary addition of sugar and other sweeteners to prepared food. And not only healthwise. It just ruins the taste of otherwise reasonably good food.

Heart Disease Found in Egyptian Mummies

High Blood Pressure  in Ancient Egyptian?

According to this report clever folk are challenging longstanding assumptions that heart disease is mainly a malady of modern societies found evidence of hardening of the arteries in Egyptian mummies dating as far back as 3,500 years.

Where did it come from? Researchers don’t know for sure. Mummies by the very nature that they have been privilidgd to be mummified will be members of upper-class Egyptian society, and their diets included meat from cattle, ducks and geese. In addition, because there wasn’t refrigeration, salt was commonly used to preserve meat and fish, raising the possibility that some of these Egyptians had high blood pressure. Whether anyone was obese couldn’t be determined by the CT scans, but tobacco wasn’t part of the pharaohs’ lifestyle.

Heart disease is the world’s leading killer, and it is increasingly common in developing countries such as China, India and in Latin America. The growing prevalence of the disease is often attributed to urbanization, fast-food diets, smoking and sedentary lifestyles characteristic of Western societies.

Healthy Eating to Lower Blood Pressure | Diet

Blood pressure and Diet – Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

High blood pressure is a serious condition – it’s the major risk factor for stroke and heart attack – but there are so many ways to keep your blood pressure numbers to a healthy level, particularly through eating well and staying active.

Although many people with high blood pressure will need to take medication, eating healthily and reducing salt intake in particular can help medicines to work better, and can even reduce the amount of medicines needed.

Even people with healthy blood pressure numbers can make proactive choices – blood pressure tends to increase with age, so this will stand you in good stead for the future.

Eat your way to good blood pressure health:

What you eat and drink can play a major role in keeping your blood pressure healthy. In general, the healthier your diet is, the lower your blood pressure will be.

Salt is a key offender in raising blood pressure and most of us eat far too much of it – we should be eating less than 6g a day, but the majority of us are eating around 9g. All this extra salt makes our bodies hold onto excess water, which then raises blood pressure.

It’s not too hard to cut down on the white stuff – just try to shake less at the table and when cooking, and try to boost flavours with herbs and spices or seasonings like chilli, ginger or lemon juice instead.

But it’s also important to remember that around 80 per cent of the salt in our diets comes from manufactured foods, so beware the hidden salt in bread, breakfast cereals, and cheeses.

Healthy Eating Lowers Blood Pressure

  • Cutting down on salt and eating no more than 6g a day could lower blood pressure by 2-8mmHg.

Getting your five a day or fruit and vegetables is also excellent for your blood pressure health. You’ll not only be getting essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, but fruit and veg also contain potassium, which can help to balance out the negative effects of salt.

Some fruits and vegetables – such as bananas, asparagus or spinach – are particularly rich in potassium, but eating the same foods all the time can be a bit dull, and different foods have different nutrients, so we’d recommend getting a good variety.

  • Eating five, or ideally seven to nine, portions of fruit and vegetables a day can lower blood pressure by 7mmHg or more.

“Eating healthily and being active will also help you to keep to a healthy weight, which is good news for your blood pressure. And if you’re overweight a 10kg weight loss (i.e 22lbs) could help to lower your blood pressure by 5-10mmHg.”

A guide to blood pressure levels: Measure how healthy eating helps lower blood pressure.

One of the most common blood pressure questions is “what do the numbers mean?”

Less than 120/80mmHg – blood pressure is at the ‘optimal’ level so follow a healthy lifestyle to keep it that way

121/81 – 129/84mmHg – blood pressure is ‘average’ and you would benefit from lowering it

130/85 – 139/89mmHg – blood pressure is on the ‘high side of normal’ and should be lowered

140/90mmHg or above – if readings are consistently at or above this level you have high blood pressure, take action now to lower it

New Salt Targets for 2012?

Is the stubbornness of some sections of the food industry costing us thousands of lives?

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) is pleased that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has set lower salt targets for the food industry to reach by 2012, with the objective of lowering daily salt intakes in the UK to 6g or less in adults.  Without significant reductions in the amount of salt that industry adds to our food, we stand no chance of achieving the goal of an average adult salt intake of 6g a day or less.

Profits before health?

We should not lose sight of the reason why the food industry is being asked to reduce our salt intake – salt puts up our blood pressure, which in turn increases our risk of stroke or heart disease.  For every 1g of salt removed from our average daily intake, almost 7,000 lives could be saved per year and a further 7,000 non-fatal heart attacks and strokes could be prevented.  At the moment, the UK is leading the world in salt reduction and the fact that our average salt intake has dropped to 8.6g per day means that many thousands of lives are already being saved.

But, given the huge potential public health gains to be had from reducing salt, Action on Salt is disappointed that some sections of the food industry have not agreed to the lower targets suggested by the FSA or the even lower targets suggested.  In many cases, supermarkets are already producing foods with salt levels around the 2012 targets, but some other food manufacturers are stubbornly refusing to bring their salt levels down.

“The food categories we are most concerned about are bread, ham and bacon,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of CASH and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine.  “Bread accounts for a fifth (20%) of all the salt we eat in the UK, and ham and bacon 8%, so it is vital that the salt content of these foods is reduced if we are to save the maximum number of lives.  It’s sad to see that some bakers and ham and bacon producers are not prepared to lower the salt content of their products and we can only speculate that this is for commercial reasons. Is it really worth thousands of lives?”

CASH proposed that the 2012 target for bread be set at 0.75g salt per 100g which, as bread contributes a fifth of our salt intake, would have resulted in a reduction of over half a gram a day in the country’s salt intake, compared with the 2010 target of 1.1g of salt per 100g.  The 2012 target that went out to the industry for consultation was 0.93g per 100g, which would have resulted in a reduction of 0.24g per day in our average salt intake.

But the figure that the bakers have said they will accept is 1.0g per 100g.  This will result in a reduction of just 0.12g per day in the nation’s average salt intake.

For every 1g reduction in the nation’s salt intake we will save 7,000 lives. The difference between what CASH asked for and the final figure agreed by industry equates to a potential average reduction of 0.4g per day – which may not seem a large figure, but on a population level it equates to 2,800 extra lives that could have been saved each year.  In other words, the equivalent of 8 jumbo jets crashing and killing all on board every year when they could have been saved.

The most galling thing of all is that some standard supermarket own-label breads are today already at the 0.75g per 100g target we proposed.  If Sainsbury’s can make and sell bread with 0.7g of salt per 100g (0.30g sodium), why can’t brands such as Hovis, Warburton’s and Kingsmill?

If people want to reduce their chances of having a stroke or heart attack, they need to be very careful about which food products they buy, there are such huge differences in the salt content of foods that simply checking the labels and switching brands or changing to supermarket own-label products can dramatically lower the salt content of some of your favourite foods. Generally, the cheaper own-label supermarket products are lower in salt than the brand names.  For example, why would any parent feed their children Kingsmill’s Great Everyday Soft White loaf with 1.18g of salt per 100g, when Sainsbury’s own brand white bread has 0.7g of salt per 100g and already hits the 2012 target proposed?  Eating lower salt foods will improve your health, and your bank balance!”

Most shoppers do not read food labels. Generally, the advice to the public is that if they want to lower their salt intake, they should choose supermarket own label products, rather than premium branded products, as they tend to contain less salt.  UK supermarkets are leading the world in reducing salt intakes. Surely premium branded products can do the same?