WHO Warns Millions Will Die Due to Excessive Salt Consumption Without Government Intervention

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It’s obvious that I don’t write often about healthy lifestyles and diets. However, when the World Health Organization asks member countries to limit what I can eat and how much, it grabs my attention.

My stance in this instance should not be confused with my opposition to salt. Particularly, excessive salt consumption. Although I support the idea in principle, I disagree with the fact that the federal government should look after me and force me to reduce my salt intake.

Look, in a “survival of the fittest” kinda way, if it takes the federal government to get you to cut back on salt consumption, it makes zero difference how much salt is contained in processed food; you’re gonna get out your big container of Morton’s and knock yourself out, or toss a packet or two of salt on your already-salty-as-hell McDonald’s french fries or Quarter Pounders with Cheese.

Michael Moore is a morbidly obese and irrelevant independent filmmaker. He will salt everything he eats, regardless of what others think. (I apologize for the digression, but I hate to miss an opportunity to take a shot at the ever-sanctimonious Moore).

However, the government doesn’t have to tell you what you should eat or regulate your sodium, carbs, and other aspects of your diet. Does that make sense? It does. America is what and how much we eat. Not what we don’t eat. Also, be disciplined or you’ll go home.

Anyway, according to the World Health Organization, seven million people could die of diseases linked to excessive salt consumption before the end of the decade unless governments immediately pass tighter restrictions on salt. (Biden labels salt “assault salt” in 3… 2… 1…)

Shin Young-soo is the WHO Regional Director for Western Pacific.

High blood pressure is the silent killer. It kills 9.4 million each year worldwide. If we don’t act now, it will kill 1,000,000 people in the next century.

More information is available at WHO

Research has shown that sodium intake and blood pressure are directly related. For example, an increase in sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure. WHO recommends adults limit salt intake to less than 5g per day or 1 teaspoon (equivalent to 2g).

Unknowingly, many people consume between 9-12g of salt daily, twice the recommended limit. Millions are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The salt reduction can help save lives and prevent strokes or heart attacks early.

Francesco Branca (director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development) stated that excessive sodium intake is the leading risk factor for unhealthy eating habits and is responsible for approximately 1.8 million deaths annually. According to WHO, cardiovascular disease is caused by too much salt intake. It kills 17.9 million people annually.

Hidden Salt

Hidden salt in processed foods is a major problem for most healthy eaters. Source: WHO

Tinned meats and fish, instant noodles, bread, soup stock cubes, and chips are some of the most popular processed foods. They are often cheap and readily available. However, they are high in sodium. You can also add salt to your food, whether it’s for cooking or eating, as condiments like table salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

People can’t control how much salt is added to food in restaurants or fast-food outlets. Consumers need to be aware of the salt content of food due to the rising consumption of fast and processed foods.

Yes. However, I also agree that those who eat processed foods and unhealthy savory snacks don’t care about the sodium content. Untold numbers are salt lovers who cannot get enough of it.

A friend of mine from Minnesota invited me to lunch. Unfortunately, it was Burger King. My friend took the top bun off of the place and smothered the burger with salty cheese. After he had taken each bite, my bud poured salt in the “bite”. I have the images of him, although I don’t know what happened to him.

This is the spoiler: He ate so much salt despite numerous government warnings.

Branca stated that governments could save many people’s lives by setting mandatory limits on salt allowed to be added to processed foods. He also said that the salt “crisis”, which is the most common form of sodium, accounts for the majority, if not salt sprinkled on food in the cooking area, was the best way to reduce sodium intake.

Branca stated, “This is really something that costs nothing to anyone.” It’s an easy intervention but is incredibly effective.

(My likely-late friend would not disagree).

According to the Washington Post, several other health organizations, including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, recommend that sodium intake be drastically reduced. This position is based upon decades of scientific evidence, including hundreds of studies published that highlight sodium’s health hazards. It has not been challenged by any recent studies.

According to WaPo, the World Health Organization hopes to reduce salt intake by 30% from 2013, a 12-year goal that all 194 member states agreed to. This target is not being met by any member. Branca stated that he is considering expanding the target to 2030.

Conclusion:

Healthy targets are good. Forced government oversight and regulation, not so much.