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Sodium: How Much is Too Much?

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You'll be surprised at how much salt you eat. Just check out the labels on your favorite foods! Then look at the chart on the lower part of this article. Lowering your salt intake will help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease due to high blood pressure. Heinz is just one company of many who have noted this and taken action.



<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=629 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Heinz cuts salt levels in soups

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Too much salt can increase blood pressure

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!-- E IIMA -->Food giant Heinz has cut the amount of salt in its classic tinned soup range by at least 20%, it has emerged.

The company has also cut sugar levels by 10% and fat content by 18%. The healthier versions are now on sale.

The food industry has come under fire in recent months for not doing enough to reduce the amount of salt in its products.

Eating too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can cause heart disease and strokes.

A can of Heinz tomato soup now contains 0.2g of sodium, down from 0.4g. This amounts to about 0.5g of salt.

Sugar levels have fallen from 5.2g to 4.9g, while fat content has dropped from 3.6g to 3g.

"The updated classic range now contains more ingredients as well as a reduction in salt, sugar and fat content," said Robin Walker, its business unit director.

Unhealthy levels

The Food Standards Agency carried out a survey in July. It found that many popular food brands contained unhealthy levels of salt.

The recommended daily intake of salt for is 6g for adults, which is about a teaspoon. It is lower for children.

<!-- S IBOX --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=208 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=5>
</TD><TD class=sibtbg>Recommended daily salt intake

0 - 6 months: less than 1g

6 - 12 months: 1g

1 - 3 years: 2g

4 - 6 years: 3g

7 - 10 years: 5g

11 years and up: 6g

Source: Food Standards Agency

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!-- E IBOX -->On average, British adults consume about 9.5g of salt a day. An estimated 75% of our daily salt intake is hidden in processed foods.

Earlier this year, Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson wrote to 27 leading food manufacturers, including Heinz, calling on them to do more to reduce salt levels in their food.

She has demanded cuts of up to 45% in sausages, burgers, bread and breakfast cereals.

Ministers have also threatened to slap warning labels on high-salt products unless the industry agrees to radical cuts.

Some sections of the food industry have responded. In July, the Food And Drink Federation announced that manufacturers had agreed to cut salt in sliced bread by 5%. They also pledged to cut salt in breakfast cereals by 9%.

The Consumers Association welcomed this latest move by Heinz. "We are hoping they will reduce salt across their whole product range," a spokeswoman told BBC News Online. "Heinz has been one of the manufacturers we have criticised in the past. It is good to see they are taking a responsible attitude. We hope other manufacturers will follow."

This article is from the BBC news online.<!-- E BO -->

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