Scots unclear on health problems caused by salt

NINE out of ten Scots know that salt is bad for their health – but few have any idea of how it could be harming them.

New research for National Salt Awareness Week found that 93 per cent of those questioned in Scotland were aware that salt could cause damage. But when it came to listing the ways in which too much salt could harm them, many were unaware of the health problems they could face.

Only 70 per cent linked eating too much salt with raised blood pressure and heart problems, while 52 per cent linked it to a risk of stroke. There was even lower awareness of other problems, with only 7 per cent linking salt to stomach cancer, 3 per cent to osteoporosis and 32 per cent to kidney disease.

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The UK-wide survey of more than 2,000 people found that although blood pressure starts to rise from childhood, only 18 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 were aware salt was linked to strokes.

The research was carried out for the charity Consensus Action on Salt and Health, formed by a group of specialists concerned about the potential effects of salt on health.

The Food Standards Agency says the current average salt intake in the UK is 8.6g a day. The recommended level is 5g-6g a day.


EVIDENCE suggests the amount of salt we eat has a direct effect on blood pressure levels.

According to the Blood Pressure Association, salt makes the body hold on to water, which raises blood pressure. The higher our blood pressure is, the greater the strain on the heart, brain, arteries and kidneys. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease. Too much salt may also mean blood pressure medicines, such as diuretics, do not work as well as they could.

Government guidelines recommend we eat no more than 5g-6g of salt a day.