Dear NU community,
Did you know that Kazakhstan is among the countries with the highest salt consumption? Salt intake in Kazakhstan stands at about 17 grams per day, which is almost 4 times the WHO-recommended limit. Is it dangerous to consume too much salt?
The body needs a small amount of salt to function, but most Kazakhstani people consume too much salt. High salt consumption can raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. According to WHO, about 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year if global salt consumption was reduced to less than 5 grams per day.
- Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt.
- Ninety percent of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt.
- The words salt and sodium are not exactly the same, yet these words are often used interchangeably. For example, the nutrition facts panel on foods in the grocery store uses “sodium,” while the front of the package may say “no salt added” or “unsalted.
How much salt to consume?
Adults should eat no more than 5g of salt a day (2g sodium) – that's around 1 teaspoon. Children aged:
What to know?
The main source of sodium in our diet is salt, although it can come from sodium glutamate, used as a condiment in many parts of the world. From sliced bread to biscuits, Friday night takeaways to ‘healthy’ salads, everything has added salt. In fact, three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy, and it’s impossible to take it out once it’s been added in.
There can be a lot of hidden salt in our diets, with most of our consumption coming from packaged foods. You can act simply by checking the labels on your food and cutting out processed snacks from your diet. These small steps can make a big difference in maintaining a healthy heart and diet.
Look out for the salt content in the everyday foods you buy, and choose lower-salt options. Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the back or side of the packaging.
If the label only gives sodium, you can work out the amount of salt in it by multiplying the total sodium by 2.5. For example, 1g of sodium per 100g is 2.5g of salt per 100g.
Some foods are almost always high in salt because of the way they are made. Other foods, such as bread and breakfast cereals, can contribute a lot of salt to our diet. But that's not because these foods are always high in salt – it's because we eat a lot of them.
The following foods are almost always high in salt. To cut down on salt, eat them less often and have smaller amounts: anchovies, bacon, cheese, gravy, granules, ham, olives, pickles, prawns, salami, salted and dry-roasted nuts, salt fish, smoked meat and fish, soy sauce, stock cubes, yeast extract. To see other salted products follow this link.
Reducing salt intake has been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes. Thus we would appreciate your attention to this problem and your support in awareness raising related to excessive salt consumption in Kazakhstan.
University Healthcare Department