We eat too much salt

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2012, 12:00am


HONG KONG - Hongkongers are eating twice as much salt as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a study reveals.

Chinese University researchers found that the public consumes an average of 10 grams of salt a day, while the WHO recommends less than five grams.

The reason may be that more hectic lifestyles mean people eat out more. Restaurants tend to load dishes with seasoning to enhance flavour. A bowl of satay beef noodles contains 6.08g of salt, and a dish of beef brisket rice contains 5.44g.

Mandy Sea Man-mei, who heads the university's Centre for Nutritional Studies, says diets high in salt may lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of strokes. Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the city. About 3,000 people die from a stroke every year.

The youngest stroke patient Sea has seen was a 14-year-old boy. She said he ate instant noodles almost every day and used a lot of seasoning. His blood pressure was up to 180/90 mm Hg. After altering his diet, his blood pressure went back to a normal level of 110/70.

Chinese University recommends that people read nutrition labels and choose foods with less salt.