Pinching the salt

It’s hard to believe that salt was once so revered it was used as currency and workers received a “salary”. Now it’s a cheap ingredient and, worse still, this simple compound causes major health problems.


Sodium, along with potassium, are key electrolytes required by the body for cell communication, protecting cell membrane integrity and maintaining osmolality.1 Adults need 460–920 mg of sodium each day with a safe upper limit of 2300 mg per day (or 6 g salt).1

Yet Australians on average are consuming 5–10 times more than recommended.2 Children and adolescents are not spared, consuming up to 3700 mg3 compared to the 300–920 mg per day recommended depending on age (see Table 1).1 

The salt shaker is not the key source of sodium in the diet as it’s also found in other forms of salt and food additives such as sodium bicarbonate, monosodium glutamate, sodium phosphate and benzoate.1