SALT CONTENT IN PACKAGED FOOD
Studies shows that even 1g per capita reduction in salt can reduce over 7% deaths due to stroke and heart attack.
SALT (sodium chloride) is a basic ingredient of our food. As Love, happiness, excitement, harmony add taste to our lives, similarly; salt enhances the flavour and taste of our food.
SALT is made up of sodium and chloride ions that reduces the water activity of food which is required for micro-organisms (like bacteria) to grow. Salt might also withdraw water from bacteria present in food stuff which kills them or slows down their activity thus preventing the food from spoilage.
Therefore, when salt is added to packaged food, the shelf life of a food item increases and this helps the food industry to make more money. But, consuming more salt everyday by people across the globe, has remarkably increased the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, stone formation, kidney diseases etc.
Studies show that; most of dietary sodium (over 70 %) comes from eating packaged and ready-to eat foods not from the normal salt added while cooking.
The National Sample Survey 2010, reported per capita salt consumption at 8.9 g/day, which is twice the recommended dietary intake (RDA) of 5gm per person per day. Studies show that, a 5g rise in salt intake per day accounts for 17% greater risk of total CVD and 23% greater risk of stroke.
One teaspoon (5g) of salt contains 2300 mg of sodium (approx).
There are numerous sodium preservatives present in packaged food. Some of them are:
- Sodium acetate , sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate, mono sodium glutamate (MSG),sodium ascorbate.
- These are present in salad dressings, processed cheese, canned meats, jam, jellies, ketchup, breads, buns, spreads, cookies, ready- to eat food, mayonnaise, breakfast cereals, etc.
According to FSSAI, food labelling is mandatory for all packaged food items.
But most of the sold products in the market do not have a real or actual declaration. A quarter (24%) of products do not have any nutrition information and therefore do not meet FSSAI national nutrition labelling requirement for processed food.
Commonly used meal accompaniment, pappad, contains a high amount of sodium i.e. 1214mg/100 gm (approx). Similarly bakery foods contain more than 1000mg of sodium per 100 gm. Frozen meats score the highest salt content.
1tbsp of ketchup contains 907mg of sodium. 1tbsp of soya sauce contains 5493 mg of sodium. Pizza pasta sauce contains 1960 mg of sodium in 1tbsp.
(Values are varied according to brands).
SALT INTAKE can be reduced by choosing the healthy, homemade and low sodium food option. Studies highlight that even 1g per capita reduction in salt can reduce over 7% deaths due to stroke and heart attack.
- Even though sodium may be already present in packaged food, but we can reduce it by reading the food labels written on it.
- Knowing the recommended daily allowance of sodium (or salt), we can reduce the sodium intake. WHO has recommended a 5g of salt (1teaspoon) per day for adults with no medical condition. In hypertensive patients it should be less than 3 gm.
- Avoid having packaged breakfast cereals, pizzas, instant food, sandwiches in breakfast instead have poha, upma, idli, stuffed parantha (with less oil), oats etc.
- Follow your grandmother’s recipes to make snacks required for munching in between the meals.
- Limit the table salt addition over the gravies and salads.
- Instead of adding salt to dishes use seasonings like black pepper, dried basil leaves, cumin powder, and other spices etc, for flavour enhancement.
- Avoid bakery products, canned meats, frozen foods.
- Use fresh fruits and vegetables instead of using the preserved or packaged tetra packs.
- BY FOLLOWING THE ABOVE INSTRUCTIONS, WE CAN REDUCE THE SALT INTAKE ON DAILY BASIS WHICH HELPS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF CARDIO VASCULAR DISEASES.
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