Perhaps the most controversial issue relating to salt in recent years has been the question of salt levels in human diets. The mineral is an essential element in human biology. Every human cell contains salt, adding up to around 250g in the average human body. It performs vital functions in digestion and hydration and salt levels are regulated by the kidneys.
According to official NHS guidelines, adults in the UK are advised to limit their salt intake to 6g per day, a figure that’s not based on any agreed credible scientific study.
In fact, recent evidence finds no benefit in reducing salt levels beyond a certain point
The Institute of Medicine found that reducing salt intake below about 6g a day had no positive effects. This contradicts a widely held view, that the more salt intake is reduced, the greater the benefits.
Recent evidence shows that beyond a certain point, usually between about 6g and 7.5g of salt a day, there is little benefit.
There can be serious negative health outcomes if salt consumption is too low
The most important discovery that has emerged from recent evidence is the possibility that the health outcomes that result from consuming too little sodium, could be worse than the consequence of consuming too much. The American Journal of Hypertension concluded that low versus normal salt intake resulted in a higher risk of all-cause mortality than high versus normal intake.
The future of the Recommended Daily Allowance
With this is mind, the British government needs to review the science around salt’s role in human diets. Conflicting studies cause confusion over a recommended daily allowance which is outdated and ignores studies suggesting that too little salt is harmful. We encourage people to question the low salt strategy laid out by the Government and apply common sense in relation to their own health and their own salt intake levels.