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Don’t spare the salt?

Bruce C Neal
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (3): 111-112.
Published online: 1 August 2011

How can implementing a population-wide salt-reduction program be so hard?

For most of human evolution, the average daily diet contained a fraction of a gram of salt and our physiology developed accordingly.1 A few thousand years ago, with the discovery that salt could preserve food, average intake started to rise. Now, with salt poured into the food supply, average Australian consumption levels are many times our physiological need.2 Populations eating the level of salt upon which we evolved are now few, but they provide a window into normal physiological processes. One of the most notable findings is that their blood pressure levels do not rise with age.3

  • Bruce C Neal

  • The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

I am the Chair of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health. I receive research support from the Australian Food and Grocery Council and New South Wales Health, and am a member of the PepsiCo Global Scientific Advisory Board. I receive salary support from an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship.

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