Are you consuming excessive salt unwittingly?

May 5th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 5 (IANS) People could be consuming excess of salt unwittingly, which is likely to affect their overall health, according to a new study. Consumers tend to exceed the recommended salt intake of six grams a day, partly because the information about sodium and salt levels is confusing and misunderstood, said researchers.

Since high salt intake has been found to be harmful to humans, researchers recommend that food labelling should include the quantity of salt per serving and a mention of the recommended maximum intake for adults per day.

A New Zealand study conducted by Andrew Gilbey of Massey University and Sarah Fifield of Airways examined whether people were able to accurately interpret the nutritional information about salt on the packaging of food products, reports Sciencealert.

As many as 226 participants answered questions about their salt intake awareness and to estimate the salt content of a can of baked beans, using information on the packaging. Many underestimated salt content by confusing it with sodium.

Over 98 percent were unable to identity the amount of salt in the product. More than 58 percent believed that salt and sodium are interchangeable terms. The researchers say this is a problem because most packaging only gives the sodium content.

“Unless consumers are aware that a gram of sodium is equivalent to 2.5 grams of salt, they would underestimate the amount of salt in any given food product by a factor of approximately 2.5.”

The study showed that 67 percent of participants claimed they cared about the amount of salt in their diet.

These findings have been published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

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