Salt is an essential part of everyday life, especially when it comes to health. It helps with fluid balance, blood pressure management and the nervous system. However, despite the benefits, for some time we’ve been told to cut back. Infact, the current 6g RDA has not been reviewed since 1994.
A lot has changed since 1994, the year when PJ and Duncan were getting ready to rumble and Friends had just launched. And yet, our salt RDA has stayed the same. Now it’s time for balanced scientific research to be done to inform a fundamental review of the science.
The current Recommended Daily Allowance
The current RDA is based on a report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food ( COMA). In the 1994 report, the nation’s diet was reviewed and it concluded that UK citizens consume too much salt and as such recommended that adults should cut their intake to 6g a day. The justification for this reform was based entirely on evidence that linked salt consumption to blood pressure.
Then 2003 came and The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) decided to pick up where COMA left off, building a report based on the original evidence, that was by this point a decade old.
The current guidelines have now not been changed for almost 20 years. Since then, new evidence has emerged that calls into question the view that salt is fundamentally bad for your health.
Not enough evidence to form a national policy
Several more recent studies have highlighted the lack of evidence to support the reduction policy. Two studies in 2014 called into question evidence that was not based on a large enough range of participants.
No benefit in reducing salt levels beyond a certain point
More recent evidence from the Institute of Medicine shows that reducing sodium intake beyond 2.3g a day had no positive effects. This contradicts the stance of the Food Standards Agency that the less salt you eat, the healthier you are.
Recent evidence also suggests that beyond a certain point, between 2.3- 3g of sodium per day, there is little benefit, suggesting that an optimum range of sodium may exist.
On top of that, there’s the issue that reducing salt intake too much can result in serious health issues.
Feeling a little confused? We don’t blame you.
That’s why more research needs to be done, reassessing the current guidelines to take into account the more recent studies and clearing the salt RDA debate up once and for all.