The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarm about the illnesses resulting from the consumption of too much salt, warning that unless governments take measures and educate the public about monitoring the sodium content in their diet, countless individuals could lose their lives.
According to an article published in the Washington Post, the primary factor that endangers human health and causes 1.8 million deaths worldwide every year is the consumption of salty food.
Francesco Branca, the head of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at WHO, has connected the consumption of salty foods to cardiovascular disease and strokes, which account for 17.9 million and 5 million fatalities, respectively.
Branca suggested that strict governmental regulations on the amount of salt used in food could aid in decreasing these statistics.
According to the health expert, this is an intervention that is simple yet highly effective and does not require any significant financial resources. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a daily salt intake of no more than 10.8 grams. However, many individuals consume more than this recommended amount. These organizations recommend that people limit their daily salt intake to the equivalent of one teaspoon.
Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, has explained that sodium has the effect of causing blood vessels to become stiff, and that excessive consumption of salt can result in elevated blood pressure and other health complications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had established a target of reducing salt consumption by 30% by 2013, but this goal was not met by most countries. As a result, the organization is contemplating extending the target to 2030. WHO has stated, in a review on the topic, that only 5% of its members have implemented measures to reduce salt intake.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 70% of the salt consumed by individuals comes from packaged or processed foods, rather than food prepared at home.
Branca was quoted as saying that individuals often associate a certain level of salt with a desired taste in food, and if this amount is not present, the food may seem bland. Additionally, he noted that manufacturers may be hesitant to reduce sodium levels in their products if their competitors continue to use higher levels of salt.
Branca believes that as salt levels are reduced, the taste buds of individuals can adapt, resulting in an improved taste of the food.