High salt intake increases blood pressure
The relationship between table salt intake and blood pressure is clear: a high table salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, high salt consumption indirectly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which, at just under 40%, are the most common cause of death in Germany.
In its current scientific opinion “Salt intake in Germany, health consequences and resulting recommendations for action”, the DGE therefore emphasizes the need to reduce salt intake in the population. A population-wide decrease in blood pressure, even if it is moderate, can help reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.
The DGE therefore strongly recommends that Germany participate in national and international initiatives to reduce table salt intake across the population. The majority of the population in Germany eats too much table salt: In around 70% of women and around 80% of men, table salt intake is above the guidance value of up to 6 g per day.
In order to reduce the salt intake in the population, the salt content in bread, meat, sausage and cheese must be reduced. Bread can make the greatest contribution to saving table salt. The salt intake should be gradually reduced in order to get used to the weaker salty taste. It is best not to let children get used to a high salt intake. Consumers can reduce their table salt consumption by choosing less processed foods and more unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruits. Spices and herbs should be preferred for seasoning. If table salt is used, table salt enriched with iodine and fluoride should be preferred.
What is high blood pressure and how common is it?
Hypertension occurs in about 20 million adults. This is shown by the study on adult health in Germany (DEGS). Hypertension is a disease of the vascular system in which the blood pressure values are permanently too high and exceed certain threshold values even when at rest. It is available with repeatedly measured blood pressure values of ≥ 140 mm mercury column (Hg) and / or ≥ 90 mm Hg. Values of systolic <120 mm Hg and diastolic <80 mm Hg are considered to be optimal Germany have suboptimal blood pressure values. The cardiovascular risk of disease is already significantly increased with suboptimal blood pressure values. About half of ischemic heart diseases and two thirds of strokes can be attributed to suboptimal blood pressure. Even children and adolescents have a noticeable increase or suboptimal blood pressure. In the 14- to 17-year-old age group, 52.5% of the boys and 26.2% of the girls already had blood pressure values of ≥ 120/80 mm Hg, and thus above the values defined as optimal. The frequency increases with age, as results from the Child and Adolescent Health Survey (KIGGS study) showed.Why does the DGE provide an orientation value for table salt?
Since high salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure and high blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, salt intake in the population should be reduced. In 39% of women and 50% of men, table salt intake is more than 10 g / day. Table salt is v. a. about processed food and consumption of food prepared outside the home (approx. 75-90%). According to the National Consumption Study II (NVS II), the processed food groups bread, meat, sausage and cheese make the largest contribution to table salt intake in Germany. According to the DGE orientation value, the sum of the table salt intake from processed foods and the “salting” should not exceed 6 g per day. This corresponds to about a teaspoon.
The DGE statement summarizes evidence-based findings on the relationship between table salt intake and the prevention of nutritional diseases. The statement and a FAQ paper with selected questions and answers about table salt are freely available on the Internet. (pm)