Australia's Processed Food Causing High Salt Intake

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Fraser Clarke

A new study published this week has shown that Australian men are eating twice the amount of salt considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

According to the research lead by Professor Bruce Neal of the George Institute for Global Health, Aussie men are taking in 10.1 grams of salt a day on average - well beyond the WHO’s recommended 5 gram maximum.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, the research team said: “Despite a steady improvement in mortality rates over the past three decades, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australia, reducing the population’s salt intake is projected to be one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing rates of premature death, and disability attributable to high blood pressure and vascular disease.”

Women don’t fare an awful lot better in the report, which involved more than 16,000 respondents, with their salt intake said to be around 7.34 grams a day on average.

Professor Neal and his team were quick to highlight one of the key reasons for the major issues. Hidden salts. He continued: “The majority of this excess salt we're eating is hidden in processed foods, you shouldn't be putting salt on food because it's not good for you, but that's not the main issue here.

“The issue is that 85% of the average Australian's daily salt intake comes from meats, cheeses, cereals and soups.”

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, one person dies every 12 minutes as a result of cardiovascular disease in the country. Over time this figure has dropped slightly - however it remains the biggest single killer ‘down under’.

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