Cut salt to keep kids away from soft drinks

February 21st, 2008 - 11:17 am ICT by admin  


London, Feb 21 (IANS) Are your children addicted to aerated soft drinks? Just a little reduction in salt intake may help reduce their dependence - and keep at bay a host of medical problems, says a new study. Researchers at St. George’s University here have found that even a gram of salt cut from children’s daily diet reduces fluid intake by 100 grams per day.

And as soft drinks are their preferred fluids, it would mean reduced risks for obesity, hypertension, later-life heart attacks and stroke.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Hypertension.

It is well known that salt intake increases fluid consumption in adults. But St. George’s University researchers, led by Feng J. He, tried to determine whether it was also true for children.

“It has been shown that sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption is related to obesity in young people, said Feng, lead author of the study.

His team analysed data from the 1997 National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) of more than 2,000 people between four and 18 years old where more than 1,600 boys and girls had salt and fluid intake recorded over seven days on digital scales.

If children aged 4 to 18 years cut their salt intake by half, there would be a decrease of two sweetened soft drinks per week per child, the equivalent of 250 kcal,” Feng said.

The study suggests that reduced salt intake could also help decrease childhood obesity, through its effect on soft drink consumption.

“Both high blood pressure and obesity increase the risk of having strokes and heart attacks,” Feng said.

“Small reductions in the salt content of 10-20 percent cannot be detected by the human salt taste receptors and do not cause any technological or safety problems,” Feng said.

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