Salt intake level upped
TORONTO—A group that advises doctors on how to best help patients prevent high blood pressure is shaking up its advice on the amount of sodium Canadians should get in their diets.
Yesterday, Hypertension Canada announced it has raised its recommended amount of daily sodium intake for most adults to 2,000 milligrams—the equivalent of roughly five millilitres (one teaspoon) of salt.
Previous recommendations advised Canadians aged 14-50 to limit their daily sodium consumption to 1,500 mg, those 51-70 to aim for 1,300 mg, and those 70 and older to ingest even less (1,200 mg).
But task force co-chairman Dr. Raj Padwal said research shows that cutting salt intake to even 2,000 mg a day from 3,600 mg can significantly improve blood pressure levels.
“The second reason is that 1,500 or 1,300 or 1,200 . . . it’s simply not feasible because the average intake in the Canadian population is 3,400 milligrams, which is about a teaspoon-and-a-half of salt,” he noted.
Padwal said it’s important for consumers to remember that much of their sodium comes from processed foods, which makes it a hidden source.
“Nobody really eats sodium or even salt,” he reasoned.
“You don’t sit down at your dinner table and portion out your food and have a portion of salt that you scoop into your mouth.
“You eat food.”
That’s why another key recommendation from the Hypertension Canada task force is to eat a healthy diet, including high-fibre foods and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“And by doing so, your sodium intake will naturally decline,” Padwal said.
“You don’t have to worry about the numbers . . . your sodium intake will naturally be around two grams.”