NI charity warns on dangers of dietary salt

The NI Chest, Heart and Stroke Association has warned that around 1,000 people will unnecessarily here in the coming year, because they have eaten too much salt.

The charity has accused the Government and food producers of failing to help the public do anything about reducing their salt intake and said that producers must reduce unnecessary salt levels in their products as a matter of urgency.

Salt raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. It also been linked to stomach cancer, osteoporosis and kidney problems. However, it isn’t easy for consumers to monitor the salt that they use, because most of the salt we consume is ‘hidden’ in processed foods.

Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of the NI Chest, Heart and Stroke Association, said: “A bowl of cornflakes, for example has the same salt concentration as seawater. The problem is that the average person has no way of telling, simply by looking at the food label. It may list sodium, but to find the true salt content, you need to multiply the sodium level by two and a half.”

A survey carried out among MPs, health professionals and members of the public confirmed this. The survey, carried out by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), a pressure group of medical specialists, discovered that although people were aware that salt affects their health, more than eight out of ten find current salt labeling incomprehensible.

Mr Dougal said: "The best medical advice is for adults to eat no more than six grams of salt each day and for children to eat only half of that."

CASH and the Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke Association want the Government and food manufacturers to introduce much clearer and simpler labeling. The Co-op was the first supermarket to lead the way, by indicating low, medium or high levels of fat, sugar and salt on its own-brand packaging.

However, there are some things which consumers can to help reduce their salt intake immediately, including: avoiding crisps and eating limited amounts of bacon, sausages and takeaway foods; replacing salt with other flavourings, such as herbs and spices and checking food labels – any food containing more than half a gram of sodium per hundred grams should be avoided.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 January 2006
High salt content is 'time bomb' for kids
Northern Ireland’s children are risking heart attacks and strokes in later life because of the amount of salt they eat, according to a leading medical charity.
04 March 2019
PHA Issue High Salt Intake Warning
The Public Health Agency (PHA) has issued a reminder to the public of the dangers of eating too much salt. It comes as the region marks Salt Awareness Week between Monday 04 and Sunday 10 March.
28 July 2016
Adults Consuming Almost 50% More Recommended Daily Salt Intake
Adults in Northern Ireland are consuming almost 50% more than the recommended daily salt intake, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The average salt intake was found to be 8.
05 February 2020
Parents Consulted On School Meal Proposals
Parents of school children are being urged to engage with a Department for Education consultation on proposals to upgrade the nutritional value of food provided in grant-aided schools. Sinn Fein's Karen Mullan encouraged participation in the consultation, which runs until the end of March, to avoid the issue of "holiday hunger".
03 December 2019
Instagram Star Joins Fight Against Homelessness
A Northern Irish Instagram sensation is hoping to take a bite out of homelessness by encouraging her thousands of followers to donate the cost of a Christmas sandwich to the region's leading homelessness charity. Laura-Ann Barr, the mastermind behind the popular blog prettymuchme.co.