Almost everyone in the world eats too much salt

Updated:Mar 24,2014


Simple Science at Heart

No matter where you live, you’re probably eating way more salt than you should.

Seventy-five percent of the world’s population eats nearly twice the recommended amount of salt per day, according to the first study to analyze salt intake across the globe.

The table-top salt shaker, salt and soy sauce added during cooking and sodium in commercially prepared food added up to nearly 4,000 mg a day per person in 2010.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium in your diet to no more than 1,500 mg a day and the World Health Organizations suggests no more than 2,000 mg per day.

Salt raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease — the No. 1 cause of death in the world. Researchers say:

  • Kazakhstan had the highest average intake at 6,000 mg per day, followed by Mauritius and Uzbekistan at just less than 6,000 mg per day.
  • Kenya and Malawi had the lowest average intake at about 2,000 mg per day.
  • The average intake in the United States was about 3,600 mg a day.
In another analysis of the same data, eating too much salt led to nearly 2.3 million heart-related deaths worldwide in 2010. The U.S. ranked 19th out of the 30 largest countries, with 429 deaths per million adults due to eating too much sodium.

The American Heart Association has tips on how to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, as well as information on six commonly consumed foods that are high in sodium.

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