Beware Hidden Salt: Why You Should Check Packaged Food Labels

Did you know that nearly 80% of our salt intake comes from hidden sources in packaged foods rather than direct table salt? Cutting down our salt consumption by just 30% could potentially reduce hypertension prevalence by 25%, according to a recent initiative led by IIT Madras in collaboration with several health organizations.

Dr. T S Selva Vinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, highlighted that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute significantly to mortality, with modifiable risk factors such as salt intake playing a crucial role. He emphasized that 70-80% of the salt consumed is hidden in processed foods, driven by increased food delivery services and dining out trends.

Addressing this issue requires individual awareness and government interventions akin to those used successfully against tobacco. Dr. Selva Vinayagam stressed the need for public awareness campaigns and regulatory measures, similar to those for tobacco, to curb salt consumption effectively.

Dr. Rajan Ravichandran from IIT Madras emphasized the importance of clear labelling and statutory guidelines on salt content in packaged foods to empower consumers and tackle the rising trend of salt-related health complications, particularly among children targeted by high-density processed foods.

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