British ‘still eating too much salt in diet’

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Britons are consuming less salt every day but adults still exceed the recommended maximum amount.

The average person aged 19-64 now consumes 8.1g of salt per day, significantly higher than the recommended maximum of 6g, according to the Department of Health’s annual report on dietary sodium intake.

Men tend to eat more salt than women, at 9.3g versus 6.8g a day, according to the assessment of the sodium content of urine collected from 547 adults.

Overall, 80 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women still exceed the recommended daily 6g. But the amounts have decreased since the introduction of the UK’s salt reduction policy 10 years ago when the average adult was eating 9.5g a day.

Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) said the results mean the UK now has the lowest salt intake of any developed country and blamed the “slow progress” on restaurants, takeaways and cafes, and the Department of Health.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute and Cash chairman, said: “This one-and-a-half gram reduction in salt intake shows progress is happening but there is still a very long way to go.”

He added: “Unfortunately, the catering industry (restaurants, cafes, takeaways etc), against our advice, have largely been ignored by the salt reduction programme.

“We urge catering companies to reduce the unnecessarily high amount of salt they add to our food.

“Furthermore, the Department of Health has failed to set further salt targets for the whole of the food industry. This is essential for the success of the programme as it provides a level playing field whereby all food companies make gradual reductions in line with each other.”