The body responsible for promoting public health in England (prosaically called Public Health England) has faced recent criticism that it it has failed to secure sufficient reductions in the salt added to food.
The Guardian reports that average consumption is 8 grams per adult per day, instead of the 6 gram target, and that this excess is responsible for many thousands of deaths:
Voluntary action by the food industry and retailers has failed to bring the nation’s salt intake down to safe levels and thousands of people have died unnecessarily as a result, say campaigners.
Public Health England (PHE) faced harsh criticism as it published the first comprehensive report on the salt reductions that have been achieved by food manufacturers and retailers in 14 years. It showed that only just over half of the targets were met.
“Such poor progress in PHE’s attempt to reduce salt intake is a national tragedy,” said Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine and chair of the pressure group Action on Salt.
“This report confirms what we know already – that voluntary targets need comprehensive monitoring and guidance but this has been completely lacking from PHE. As a result, thousands of unnecessary strokes and heart attacks have occurred and billions of pounds wasted by the NHS; and tragically more than 4,000 premature deaths per year have occurred.”
low-sodium diet has a shaky foundation in heart failure, a systematic review showed.
Out of more than 2,600 studies on sodium restriction in heart failure, only nine small trials with a total sample of 479 -- none of which were free from bias -- made it into an analysis by a group led by Kamal Mahtani, PhD, of the University of Oxford, England.
In the end, the investigators found "no clinically relevant data on whether reduced dietary salt intake affected outcomes such as cardiovascular-associated or all-cause mortality, cardiovascular-associated events, hospitalization, or length of hospital stay,"
We appear to have two views of the science in serious conflict. Who is right? Does the extra 2g of salt per adult per day produce four thousands more premature deaths per year in the UK?
Note: versions of this question have been asked before (Are low-salt diets effective? and Is salt "white death"? ) but both the answers and the questions are too vague and unsatisfactory. I'm open to merging them (if that is possible) but the most important thing is to get better answers. I've tried to ask the question in a more specific form that should encourage quantitative answers.