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Victorians don’t know how much salt they’re eating: survey

A survey of over 800 Victorians has shown that most still don’t understand the dangerous levels of salt being consumed, with over two-thirds claiming that they eat less or about the right amount of salt, but many unable to correctly identify high salt foods.

The survey results come as the Heart Foundation and VicHealth launch their “Don’t Trust Your Taste Buds” campaign to urge Victorians to trust the label and not their taste buds when it comes to identifying hidden salt in processed foods.

Heart Foundation Victoria Chief Executive Officer Diana Heggie said the results from the survey showed that the campaign was urgently needed to help get the message out to Victorians.

“The World Health Organization recommends a maximum daily limit of 5g of salt each day for adults and 3g for children, but Victorian adults are consuming almost twice the upper limit,” Heggie said.

“High salt consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack, stroke, kidney and blood vessel disease. Disturbingly, one in 20 deaths in Victoria is attributable to high salt intake – that’s six times the annual road toll.

“About 75 per cent of salt in our diets comes from processed foods. Salt is hiding in the everyday foods we eat and even the most discerning taste buds often won’t be able to taste it.”

This was reinforced when survey participants were asked to rank food products in order of salt content and on average only a quarter were able to correctly identify the food product with the highest salt content across the four food ranking tests.

Results of one question in the survey showed only 16 per cent of respondents were able to identify a serve of cornflakes and milk as having the highest salt content when compared to a 30g serve of popcorn, three chocolate and cream biscuits and 14 rice crackers.

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