Salt Awareness Week encourages hidden salt awareness




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The hidden salt in processed foods being consumed by Australians is one of the issues under the spotlight this week with the launch of the annual World Salt Awareness Week.

This year the theme is Salt and Stroke with a new report released to coincide with the event showing how people could cut dietary salt by 5 grams a day by switching from one processed food brand to another – a cut that could reduce stroke risk in Australia by one quarter.

The report from the George Institute for Global Health said the reduction – the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt – would save thousands of lives in Australia each year. 

The George Institute senior director and chairman of the Australian division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) Professor Bruce Neal said most salt consumed was hidden in processed and fast foods.

Image: Sunset.com

“So even people who don’t add salt are still eating far more salt than is good for them,” Professor Neal said.

“The report shows how people can greatly reduce their risks by making better food choices.”

The report looked at the effect on a typical daily diet of switching from higher to lower salt products in six categories of processed foods including breads, cereals, sauces and spreads, meat products convenience foods and dairy. It compared the products of some of the top brands including Kellogg’s, Arnott’s, Don, Primo, Bega, Freedom Foods, Wattle Valley, Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Kraft and Coles home brand.

It used data from FoodSwitch,  a smartphone application recently released through a collaboration between Bupa Australia and the George Institute which allows users to scan food product bar codes and suggests healthier alternatives.

The iPhone app was launched in January and has already been downloaded by 150,000 iphone users. An Android version was also launched this week.

Dr Stan Goldstein of Bupa said the app was being used by doctors to help patients manage their health risks.

“But also by parents to teach their children about healthier eating, using real-time on-the-spot examples as they consider what goes into the shopping trolley.”

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