Are you using too much salt?

Good morning everyone,

Do you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is that they are no longer calling for highs all week to be 34C or 35C. The bad news is that they are now calling for highs to be 35C or 36C. Looks like no runs for me...

Despite years of public health campaigns, salt consumption in Japan has not decreased as expected, recent research shows.High salt intake can lead to a range of health problems, including high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, which could eventually cause strokes or heart attacks.

The Japanese diet has changed over the years, and traditional foods containing high levels of salt, such as miso soup and tsukemono (pickles), are no longer the sole culprits, experts say. They also say people in different age groups should be advised distinctly.

According to the annual National Health and Nutrition Survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the average sodium intake in Japan was 10 grams a day in 2014.Although that is down from 11.2 grams 2004, the anti-sodium campaign has not been a big success, given that total daily calories consumed have decreased by more than 15 percent over the past 40 years.

“Japan has lagged behind others in grasping the amount of salt people take from different foods,” said Satoshi Sasaki, a nutrition professor at the University of Tokyo.To determine what food contributes to sodium intake and by how much, Sasaki, worked with nutritionists nationwide in 2013 to measure the precise amount of sodium discharged by 760 healthy people who agreed to undergo urine tests.In addition, he asked the participants to log their diet history as rigorously as possible, down to the volume of soy sauce dropped on a tiny plate.The results showed that average salt intake per day was 14 grams for men and 11.8 grams for women. The figures were far above the government’s goal of reducing intake to less than 8 grams for men and 7 grams for women. The World Health Organization recommends an intake of 5 grams.

According to a 2013 survey published in the BMJ Open, an open-access journal run by BMJ Publishing Group, Japan ranked 15th in the world in daily salt consumption in 2010 at 12.4 grams, with the highest sodium consumers in Kazakhstan, at 15.2 grams a day. As a whole, Asian countries ranked high on the list of 187 nations surveyed. By category, Japanese consumed salt from seasonings, bread, noodles and other processed foods. In particular, soy sauce, salt and miso were major culprits, meaning that it’s not the food itself but the way it is cooked or seasoned that ultimately influences levels in the body, experts say.

I wonder what my salt intake is like...I'm guessing it's probably lower than average because I don't often eat tsukemono and cook almost every meal at home-often without any salt at all in it. How about you? Do you use a lot of salt? Maybe you should think about cutting back...

Have a great day!

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