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There’s a simple solution to our salt addiction – we must adopt it now

JEDTX5 Different types of salt

In 1960, most of the world’s population was deficient in the micronutrient iodine, with serious consequences for public health. In 2020, only 21 countries were iodine deficient (down from 113 in 1990) and 90 percent of people were consuming enough.

The solution? Add iodine to table salt. Iodization of the salt supply was strongly supported by the salt industry and governments, and is arguably one of the most effective public health interventions of all time.

In 2024, the world will face a similar public health crisis. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading cause of illness and death. A major contributing factor is excessive sodium consumption, which raises blood pressure. But as we reported in “How to Easily Satisfy Your Salt Cravings Without Harming Your Health,” new research suggests there’s an equally simple solution: potassium-enriched salt.

That could be a game-changer because efforts to reduce sodium intake have failed for several reasons, including because people like salty foods. Governments and industry must also take some of the blame. Processed food manufacturers have been slow to enact salt reduction goals, while the salt industry has sought to sow doubt about the effectiveness and safety of salt reduction, in part by promoting the idea that consuming too little It is as harmful as having too much.

In any case, the latest scientific discoveries have put a new solution on the table. Switching to potassium-enriched salt would be a win-win as it would reduce sodium and also increase potassium intake. According to the latest research, this would have a greater impact on blood pressure than simply reducing sodium intake. Only 14 percent of people get enough potassium. Almost everyone eats too much sodium.

If the industry does not act voluntarily on the basis of this knowledge, governments should force the issue. The consequences of hypertension cost health systems a fortune. Fortifying salt with potassium, just as we did with iodine, offers a surprisingly tasty way to save lives and money.

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