Adults have cut down on their daily salt intake by nearly a gram over the decade from 2005 to 2014, but are still eating more than the recommended amount, according to a nutrition survey by Public Health England (PHE).
Research for the National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealed that the average salt consumption for adults in 2014 was 8.0 grams a day, a drop from the average of 8.5 grams in 2011 and 8.8 grams in 2005/06.
The PHE analysis found that overall salt consumption by adults had dropped 11% since 2005/06 as people stopped shaking the salt cellar over their meals or picked lower salt versions of their favourite food.
However, it is still above the recommended maximum daily intake for adults of 6 grams and PHE urged people to hold the salt.
PHE said that a cut in average salt consumption from 8g to 6g a day could prevent more than 8,000 premature deaths a year and would save the NHS more than £570 million a year.
Diets that are too high in salt can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The PHE study assessed the salt content of urine collections over 24 hours from 689 adults aged between 19 and 64. The study was carried out between May and September 2014.
PHE’s chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said: “Our analysis makes clear that there is a steady downward trend in salt consumption. While people are having less salt than 10 years ago, we are still eating a third more than we should.”
She said the majority of salt is in everyday foods and urged people to check food labels and pick lower salt options.
More needed to be done to cut salt added to recipes, she said, and urged takeaways, cafes and restaurants to play their part.
The results can be found here