A matter of excess
Sodium’s been on the earth forever, so why is it still a hot topic today? Lowering the risk While sodium is found in many popular foods around the planet, recent studies show that eating (or drinking) too much has been linked to health problems such as:
- High blood pressure¹
- Kidney disease
- Gastric cancer
How common is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is found in:
- Over 35% of people in England²
- Over 33% of Americans³
- Over 65% of people in Poland⁴
- Less than 6% of people in rural India⁴
Lowering the risk
Some studies suggest that reducing intake by just 400 mg/day over 10 years could decrease:⁵
- Coronary heart disease by 20,000–40,000 cases per year
- Stroke by 11,000–23,000 cases per year
Adding salt while cooking or dining only accounts for some of the sodium people consume. Many prepared foods contain a great deal of sodium, and some is even found naturally in everyday foods and drinks.
|Naturally Occuring Sodium (per 100g)|
|Chicken breat||63 mg|
|Low fat milk||52 mg|
|Perrier water||1 mg|
Besides being used to flavor food, sodium is also found in many special ingredients used to enhance or preserve food.
|Sodium bicarbonate||Leavening agent in batters, crispiness enhancer in breadings|
|Monosodium glutamate (MSG)||Flavor enhancer|
|Sodium caseinate||Thickener and binder|
|Sodium citrate||Controls acidity in soft drinks|
|Sodium nitrate||Curing agent in meat|
|Sodium phosphate||Emulsifier and stabilizer|
|Sodium propionate||Mold inhibitor|
|Sodium saccharin||Artificial sweetener|
1. American Heart Association. About high blood pressure. www.heart.org.
2. Scientific Advisory committee on nutrition (SACN): Salt and Health. 2003. The stationery office. www.sacn.gov.uk.
3. CDC. Vital signs: prevalence, treatment, and control of hypertension—United States, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. MMWR. 2011;60(4):103-8.
4. Worldwide prevalence of hypertension: a systematic review. [Review], Kearney, Patricia M a; et al. Journal of Hypertension. 22(1):11-19, January 2004.
5. Bibbins-Domingo K, Chertow GM, Coxson PG et al. reductions in cardiovascular disease projected from modest reductions in dietary salt. N Engl J Med. 2010; Feb 18; 362 (7): 590-599.