GLOBAL – The World Health Organization (WHO) has established recommendations on the use of low-sodium salt alternatives and is currently requesting feedback on the draft recommendation from Member States and all pertinent parties through an online public consultation.

The recommendations were crafted according to the current WHO guideline creation process, which involves an assessment of methodically accumulated scientific data and consideration of variables pertinent to the implementation of the recommendation.

Excessive salt consumption raises blood pressure, which in turn raises the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.

An estimated three million deaths occur each year due to high salt intakes worldwide. As a result, the WHO has provided recommendations on how to consume less sodium in order to lower blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart disease.

In order to prevent and control noncommunicable illnesses, Member States agreed on a global goal in 2013 to lower the average population’s sodium intake by 30% by 2025.

Both as an ingredient in pre-packaged meals and as salt that consumers add to food and beverages, low-sodium salt replacements offer an alternative to ordinary salt (sodium chloride).

In order to obtain a flavor similar to regular salt, these alternative salts frequently incorporate potassium chloride with or without other ingredients. They also contain less sodium than regular salt.

National health agencies and public health organizations are increasingly considering the use of low-sodium salt replacements as a viable blood pressure reduction method, however, there is currently a lack of global guidelines on the use of these substitutes.

On March 31, 2023, a webinar will be held to kick off the consultation. It will provide a brief overview of the WHO guidelines development process, the scientific data that was utilized to generate the recommendations, and the recommendations and supporting data.

WHO report on salt reduction

WHO recently noted with concern that the global average daily salt intake is more than double its recommended levels, placing the world off-course to meeting its 2025 goal of a 30% reduction in sodium intake.

As a result, it urged Member States to swiftly implement rules to reduce sodium intake and lessen the negative effects of excessive salt intake.

The WHO has also urged food manufacturers to set ambitious salt reduction targets for their products.

The Organization recommends fewer than 5 grams (one teaspoon) of salt per day, whereas the average salt intake worldwide is estimated to be 10.8 grams per day.

According to the report, just 5% of WHO Member States have comprehensive sodium reduction policies that are legally required. The remaining 73% of WHO Member States do not fully implement these policies.

However, only nine nations (Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Uruguay) now have a complete set of recommended policies to lower sodium intake.

An estimated 7 million lives could be saved worldwide by the implementation of very cost-effective salt reduction strategies by 2030, which is an important component of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of reducing deaths from noncommunicable diseases.

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