Salt 'stomach cancer risk'

Too much salt is believed to promote cancer by damaging the stomach lining, a new report has found. Better "traffic light" food labelling is needed to reduce the number of stomach cancers linked to salt, experts have added.

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Government to tackle salt reduction issues

We already know too much salt can lead to conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

That is why we are taking action through the Responsibility Deal to help reduce the salt in peoples' diets.

And we are looking at clearer salt labelling on foods as part of our consultation on front of pack labelling.

We keep these findings under review alongside other emerging research in the field.

– A Department of Health spokesman

How much salt do we need?

  • Our daily intake of salt should be less than 6g (2.4g sodium) – we actually need much less than this.
  • Most people in the UK currently consume more than 6g, but there are simple ways to cut down on our intake.
  • Currently, 75% of the salt we eat comes from processed foods like ready meals, cheese, bread, biscuits and processed meats.
  • The remaining 25% is added during cooking or at the table.

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Stomach cancer kills nearly 5000 people every year

  • Each year in the UK around 7,500 new cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed and almost 5,000 people die from the disease.
  • Cutting salt intake to six grams a day could prevent 1,050 of these cases, according to the WCRF.
  • Excess salt is also linked to high blood pressure, the main cause of strokes and a significant cause of heart disease, as well as osteoporosis and kidney disease.

Cancer charities: 'Better food labelling would help consumers'

Stomach cancer is difficult to treat successfully because most cases are not caught until the disease is well-established.

This places even greater emphasis on making lifestyle choices to prevent the disease occurring in the first place - such as cutting down on salt intake and eating more fruit and vegetables.

Because around three-quarters of the salt we consume is already in processed food when we buy it, WCRF would like to see traffic light labelling on the front of food and drink packaging to give clear guidance on the levels of salt as well as sugar, fat and saturated fat.

– Kate Mendoza, head of information, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

Tips to reduce your salt intake

  • Check food labels and select products with less salt or sodium.
  • Gradually reduce, and then cur out, the amount of salt you add to food during cooking and at the table.
  • Use spices, herbs, garlic and lemon instead of salt.
  • Make your own meals from scratch.
  • Eat fresh meat rather than processed meat.
  • Limit the amount of salty snacks you eat.

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Salt raises 'stomach cancer risk'

Too much salt is believed to promote cancer by damaging the stomach lining, a new report has found.

People who eat lots of salt, risk stomach cancer, research suggests Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press

Better "traffic light" food labelling is needed to reduce the number of stomach cancers linked to salt, experts have added.

A standardised form of colour-coded "traffic light" food labelling would help consumers monitor their consumption of salt, sugar and fat, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

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