Take Initiative to Salt Reduction

Excessive salt intake leads to elevated blood pressure and increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, gastric cancer, osteoporosis and other diseases.

Scientific research has revealed that the physiological need for salt of an adult is about 1 gram per day, equivalent to the daily intake of salt from natural food or ingredients. Excess sodium (salt) is mainly excreted from the body with urine. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day. Based on the assessment of salt intake and eating habits of Chinese people, the Chinese Dietary Guidelines suggests that the daily salt intake of adults should not exceed 6 grams. However, an investigation of the nutritional status of Chinese people shows that their actual daily salt consumption is about 12 grams, making it one of the countries with the highest salt intake in the world.

76% of the salt intake comes from home cooking, 6.4% from soy sauce, and the rest from eating out and packaged food etc. Over the years, reducing the salt for home cooking has been the major strategy for China to reduce salt intake on the whole. However, with the rapid development of the economy and society as well as the acceleration of urbanization, it is more and more common for people to eat in restaurants or order take-outs. Many restaurants, in order to attract customers, tend to rely on more oil and salt to increase the flavor. A dish which is “spicy and delicious” often means that it has been added much oil and salt. Studies show that eating in the restaurants usually makes people consume nearly half as much oil and salt as cooking at home.

This year's World Salt Awareness Week reveals a long-neglected fact to people around the world: The salt hidden in food from the restaurants, canteens, take-outs, and supermarkets is far beyond your imagination. The public needs to be reminded again that for the sake of your health, please try your best to minimize the time of eating out and ordering take-outs.

When purchasing packaged foods at the supermarket, please read the nutrition label and try to buy foods with lower sodium content. The sodium in the nutrition label represents salt, and 1 gram of sodium corresponds to 2.54 grams of salt.

The George Institute for Global Health advocates for positive, proactive global health and celebrates World Salt Awareness Week with the global population during Mar 3 to 10, 2019.