Salt may be linked to gastric cancer risk

Tuesday, 21 February, 2012

Food processors could experience increased pressure to reduce salt in food products, following the publication of a study linking salt intake with gastric cancer.

The study, published in Clinical Nutrition, was a meta-analysis of previous research published in the journal to examine the possible link between salt intake and the risk of gastric cancer. The research team from the University of Naples Federico II drew on data from seven previous studies of nearly 270,000 people to make its conclusions.

The study found that those who have a high or moderately high salt intake have a 68% or 41% greater risk of gastric cancer respectively than those whose salt intake is low.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairperson of CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health), said in a media release that this study provides “strong evidence that we need to reduce salt intake around the world”.

“It is time that all countries around the world follow this lead to reduce salt intake to less than 5 g per person per day as recommended by the World Health Organisation in order to save the maximum number of lives,” he commented.

However, reducing salt content presents a range of difficulties, including consumer acceptance and food safety and shelf life. These factors could make reducing salt content difficult for food manufacturers, but consumer awareness of salt intake may force the industry to change its approach to salt in food products.

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