An excessive sodium intake has been linked with an increase in hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) aims to decrease Singaporeans’ sodium consumption by 15 per cent over five years – that would amount to cutting out 1/4 teaspoon per person each day!
The HPB’s strategy involves replacing regular salt with low-sodium alternatives like potassium salt to enable individuals to reduce their sodium consumption without compromising taste. This strategy provides people with an opportunity to lower their sodium consumption without compromising flavor.
Singapore salt suppliers can take advantage of the Healthier Ingredient Development Scheme (HIDS) grant to produce lower sodium products and condiments. So far, about 10 salt suppliers have utilized it.
Switching to low sodium salt alternatives does not guarantee better dishes; in fact, according to research conducted by the Health Promotion Board most professional chefs and consumers did not notice any difference in taste when cooking meals with different kinds of salts.
Taste receptors responsible for sensing salt must adjust to lower sodium levels before they recognize food as tasty, which can be difficult for those used to eating high-salt diets.
Sodium is essential to human life, yet too much of it can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. According to WHO recommendations, adults should consume no more than 2 g of sodium each day.
Salt can be found in many food and drinks, from processed products like sauces, pastes and dressings, as well as snacks like chips and nuts – and accounts for 75% of Singapore’s sodium consumption.
Lower-sodium alternatives can be made of other minerals like magnesium chloride, calcium chloride or potassium chloride to deliver up to 30 per cent less sodium “without compromising taste” while contributing to your daily potassium consumption and helping relieve tension in blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.
Research by Singapore researchers demonstrated that many individuals in Singapore remain unaware of lower-sodium salt alternatives that are readily available, despite being on shelves. They emphasised the need for community awareness campaigns, health education efforts and policy incentives targeted specifically towards industry in order to make low-sodium salt available more widely as population intervention in Singapore.
Singaporeans consume nearly twice the recommended salt intake daily from processed food sources – nearly double what the World Health Organization recommends.
Dr Egan explained that individuals consuming too much salt (hypertension) have high blood pressure (which increases risk for stroke, heart attack and kidney disease), with associated risks reduced through making healthy food choices.
He recommended the best way to reduce sodium intake was through eating less processed food and creating your own meals, enabling you to control how much salt is present in your diet while also limiting consumption of salty hawker foods.
Research demonstrates that general public knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards reduced-sodium salts is limited; health education campaigns and subsidy schemes to counteract their higher prices must therefore be introduced in order to facilitate adoption of these salt substitutes.
Singapore Government is encouraging Singaporeans to switch from regular salt to lower sodium alternatives in order to decrease sodium intake and thus lower risk of high blood pressure.
At present, Singaporeans consume twice their recommended daily limit of sodium according to data released last week by the Health Promotion Board. They plan to decrease this consumption by 15 per cent over five years.
Ms Carolyn Stephen, a senior nutritionist from FIRC, noted that there are lower sodium salt alternatives that could replace table salt such as potassium chloride and magnesium chloride; she stated these salts had 30 per cent less sodium without altering taste.
Monosodium glutamate is an alternative solution, serving as an all-natural flavor enhancer and sodium reducer in packaged food such as snacks and soups, which helps elevate flavour while simultaneously cutting sodium intake by up to 50 per cent.