One in seven cases of stomach cancer in the UK could be prevented if everyone cut their salt intake to the recommended daily maximum of 6g – a level teaspoon’s worth, according to World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
Lifestyle and cancer statistics compiled by WCRF show that average daily salt consumption is 8.6g – 2.6g, or 43%, above the recommended daily amount.
The charity is calling for a standardised ‘traffic light’ system on the front of food and drink packaging to tackle high levels of salt, fat and sugar consumption.
Scientists estimate that around 14% of cases of stomach cancer could be avoided through reducing salt intake.
Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: “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.”
She added: “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.
“Standardised labelling among retailers and manufacturers – rather than the different voluntary systems currently in place – would help consumers make better informed and healthy choices.”