Fri, Jul 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

DOH survey reveals high levels of salt consumption

FOOD FOR THOUGHTA researcher said instant noodles may contain half the recommended daily salt intake, and processed foods are also high in sodium

BY SHELLEY HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday published the results of a recent study that showed the nation consumes more salt than is recommended each day.

The survey showed that men aged between 19 and 64 on average consume 1.9 times the daily recommended amount of salt, while women aged between 19 and 64 consume 1.5 times the recommended amount.

The DOH recommends that adults consume no more than 2.4g of salt each day. However, the study shows that on average adult males consume about 4.58g of salt each day, while adult females consume about 3.568g each day.

The study also showed that while men of all ages were consuming more salt than in previous years, women aged 30 or under also showed a significant increase in salt intake.

Most people consume sodium through processed or artificially flavored foods, or through the addition of salt or soy sauce in cooking, said Pan Wen-harn (潘文涵), a researcher with the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica.

Pan said that foods such as instant noodles may easily contain half of the recommended daily sodium intake. Other foods high in sodium include foods such as salted french fries and potato chips, as well as pickled foods and processed foods such as sausage links, hot dogs and ham.

Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said that over-consumption of sodium contributes to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which could lead to strokes.

“People who suffer from high blood pressure can effectively lower their blood pressure by limiting sodium intake to below 2,400mg per day,” Chiou said, adding that the effect is similar to taking medication each day, but without the side effects.

The bureau suggested that a good way to decrease sodium intake is to avoid instant noodles or add only half of the flavor package to the noodles.

It also recommended that consumers look at the nutritional information on packets to help them choose foods low in sodium.

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