FACT: The evidence suggests otherwise, but it can be hard to give up.
WHETHER you are a die-hard salt fan, or just like to shake it on your hot chips, chances are you might be a bit hooked on the stuff.
It’s easy to see why food manufacturers like to use plenty of salt it makes food palatable and also promotes thirst, often for sweet or alcoholic drinks.
According to Jacqui Webster, senior project manager with the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health, many people mistakenly believe they are addicted to salt and that is why they can’t and won’t do without it.
“There is no evidence to show salt is addictive, but it is something you can get accustomed to having,” she says. “Salt actually masks the real flavour of the food, and people just get used to the salty taste.” There are many reasons to have a go at reducing your salt intake.
Clinical studies have linked salt to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and even obesity. Australian guidelines recommend adults eat a maximum of 6g of salt a day, while current consumption is around 9g.
The problem lies in processed food, says Ms Webster. These foods contain hidden salts that quickly raise the daily intake to unhealthy levels.
Convenience foods are major offenders, but high levels of hidden salt can also be found in foods such as bread, cheese and processed meats.
But, she says, it’s worth lowering your intake.
“Once you can actually taste your food, instead of food masked by salt, you won’t be tempted to go back because everything tastes so good.
Salt will taste terrible.”
This article was first published in Australian Doctor, 30 Nov 2012