Cutting sodium content, taxing salt could cut CVD deaths.


A combined approach of reducing salt content by just 10% in processed foods and taxing foods with high salt content could reduce cardiovascular deaths in developing countries by as much as 3%, a new modeling study suggests. This two-pronged approach would also be cheap, Dr Thomas Gaziano (Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, MA) who presented the data at the World Congress of Cardiology 2012.


Hypertension is the number-one risk factor for death worldwide, accounting for 12.8% of deaths every year. It also accounts for 10% of all healthcare spending worldwide—$450 billion per year in the US alone.

Gaziano and colleagues modeled the impact of applying the approach to sodium reduction used in the UK to 19 developing countries, making up half the world’s population. That approach includes voluntary collaboration on the part of food manufacturers to reduce sodium content by 10% and adding a 40% tax to salty foods—similar to the taxes applied to tobacco in many countries.

According to Gaziano, both strategies proved cost saving in all countries and would lead to a drop of roughly 3% in the rate of cardiovascular deaths. Stroke rates would drop even more sharply by as much as 5%.

Collaboration with industry to reduce sodium content in foods was the more effective strategy of the two and produced the most cost savings, he noted. Both, however, were cheap—in the range of $43 to $49 per capita over the lifetime of the individual.

Sounds great! I hope governments are listening!

via Cutting sodium content, taxing salt could cut CVD deaths |

Excess salt blamed for 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide in 2010

Ever wondered what makes a food taste good? Most of the time it is the salt and/or oil/fat which make the food tasty. However we have some revealing facts about salt and its after-effects!

Researchers estimate that in 2010, adults in most parts of the world consumed about twice as much salt as recommended, and millions of Cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths worldwide were linked to excess sodium [1,2].

These findings were presented at EPI|NPAM 2013, the Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

In the first study, Dr Saman Fahimi (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) and colleagues reported that in 2010, adults in 187 countries consumed, on average, 3950 mg sodium a day—roughly twice the maximum intake recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (2000 mg/day) or the AHA (1500 mg/day).

In the second study, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian (Harvard School of Public Health) and colleagues reported that in the same year, they estimate that excess dietary salt led to 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide and about one in 10 deaths from CVD in the US.

The average salt consumption in the US was 3600 mg/day, and the US ranked 19th of the 30 largest countries, in estimated numbers of CVD deaths that were thought to be related to excess salt consumption.

Sodium intake in only six countries of 187 countries met the WHO guidelines,” Fahimi said.

When counseling patients about the impact of dietary salt on heart health, physicians need to be aware that salty snacks such as peanuts and chips are not the only culprits, Mozaffarian said. “In the US and in most highly developed countries, 90% of the salt in the diet comes from packaged foods,” where salt is used as a preservative; perhaps surprisingly, bread is the number-one source of salt, and cheese is a major source, he noted.

High-salt diet, a universal finding!

Excess sodium intake was universal—seen in men and women of all ages, living in low- to high-income countries. In 2010, the average daily sodium intake exceeded 2000 mg in 181 countries and exceeded 3000 mg in 119 countries.

Sodium intake varied widely between different parts of the world. Kazakhstan had the highest sodium intake (6.0 g/day), followed by Mauritius (5.6 g/day), and Uzbekistan (5.5 g/day), whereas Kenya (1.5 g/day), Malawi (1.5 g/day), and Rwanda (1.6 g/day) had the lowest daily intake of sodium.

Model linked CVD deaths to sodium intake:

Globally, of the CVD deaths attributed to high dietary sodium, 42.1% were from CHD, 41.0% were from stroke, and 16.9% were from other types of CVD.

Deaths from CVD that were related to dietary salt did not occur only in older men in wealthier countries:

Four in five deaths were in low- and middle-income countries.

40% of the deaths were in women,

One in three deaths occurred in people younger than 69.



So, guys take that salt with a pinch of salt! Try herbs instead!

via Excess salt blamed for 2.3 million deaths from CVD worldwide in 2010 |

Is popcorn healthy?


Popcorn, also known as popping corn, is a type of corn (maize) that expands from the kernel and puffs up when heated.

Depending on how it is prepared and cooked, it may turn out to be a healthy food or a calorie loaded snack!

Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber, low in calories and fat, and free of sugar and sodium. This makes it an attractive snack to people with dietary restrictions on the intake of calories, fat, and/or sodium.  Its healthy!

However, for the sake of flavor, large amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium are often added to prepared popcorn, which can quickly convert it to a very poor choice for those on restricted diets.

Popcorn is commonly eaten in movie theaters. It is traditionally served salted, often with butter topping. Sweetened versions, such as caramel corn are also commonly available. This makes it high in calories. 

 “A medium-size buttered popcorn” contains almost 29 g of saturated fat,as much as three Big Macs.

It is recommended to eat plain popcorn (non-flavoured) or lightly salted popcorn.

So, enjoy your movie with a big bowl of plain pop-corn minus the aerated drink!