The British Medical Journal recently published an analysis on the effects of too much salt in our diets.
According to their research, which looked at 13 studies from 1966 to 2008:
High salt intake is associated with significantly increased risk of stroke and total cardiovascular disease. Because of imprecision in measurement of salt intake, these effect sizes are likely to be underestimated. These results support the role of a substantial population reduction in salt intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Over at Food Politics, Marion Nestle points to the study’s commentary which calls for more regulation in the food industry. Since “nearly 80% of salt enters the diet through processed and pre-prepared foods,” they argue that regulation is the best way to help reduce the salt in our diets.
Is salt regulation the answer?
Sure, it would be great to see restaurants and food companies step up and consider the health impacts of the food they’re producing. I’m just not sure it’s something that legislation alone can address.
One of the big problems, as Nestle points out, is that:
…the taste for salt depends on how much is eaten. On a low salt diet, even lightly salted foods taste salty. But if you are used to eating a lot of salt, it takes even more to taste salty. So the object needs to be to reduce salt in the diet across the board.
If we’re going to reduce salt intake across the board, consumers need to have a clear idea of salt’s health impacts. Education is key.
Not only do folks need to know the risks, they need solutions. If processed and restaurant foods are the major salt culprits, it sounds like home cooked meals might be the answer.
Preparing home-cooked meals makes it so much easier to monitor how much salt is going into your food. Why wait for regulation when you can take charge of your diet in your very own kitchen? We’ve got tons of recipes to get you started. Not all of our recipes are low salt, but you can reduce the salt called for gradually as your palette adjusts.
Do you guys have any favorite low salt recipes? Share away in the comments!