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More regulation needed to cut deadly dietary sodium in Canada: report
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14:43, September 25, 2009

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Excessive salt intake likely kills more Canadians every years than any other chemical, said a reported released Thursday, calling for more regulatory efforts from government.

The report Salty to a Fault, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an Ottawa-based health advocacy group, suggested that the use of dietary sodium remains largely off-limits for regulators and is underestimated as a public-health risk by the federal government.

The study compare sodium content of 264 package foods and 50 restaurant foods. The food categories included soups, salad dressings, breads, potato chips, pasta sauce, cookies.

Researchers found that sodium levels in otherwise similar foods vary considerably and that many companies are able to make food with much smaller amounts of sodium than their competitors.

In its report, the Center for Science in the Public Interest urged the federal government to take such sodium-cut measures as revising sodium-related composition standards for staple foods, closing loopholes in nutrition labeling regulations and require high-sodium warning labels where necessary.

The average Canadian adult ingests 3,500 mg of sodium every day, much higher than the maximum recommended intake of 2,300 mg, and the average intake that Canadians should be aiming for, which is around 1,500 mg.

Scientists estimated that reducing dietary sodium would prevent11,500 Canadians from having a stroke, heart attack or heart failure each year and could probably save the health-care system about 2 billion Canadian dollars a year.

But the challenge is that it's nearly impossible for people to limit their salt consumption to a healthy dose since so much is added in prepared and packaged foods.

Source: Xinhua

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