Salt: Can’t do with it or without it - GulfToday

Salt: Can’t do with it or without it

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

I need to ask a very serious question to all ready to eat food manufacturers. My question is for packaged TV dinner makers, snack makers, ready to eat sandwich meat makers, confectioners and every single fast food outlet in the world. Why must you all add so much salt in your preparation process? And you’re not adding just a small amount, you’re adding ladles full. In some food items the food is so salt laden, the most apt saying for it might be ‘have some food with your salt’.

I realise that salt not only adds flavour to food but in some cases it enhances the natural flavour of certain food products such as chocolate. So my bigger question is this, is your food only targeted at a specific demographic, like the young and healthy?

According to, more than 95% of the world’s population has some type of health problems. Moreover, and more pertinently, according to the World Health Organisation, approximately 1.13billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension. According to current world population statistics there are just under 7 billion people in the world. Therefore, surely that means that by being slaphappy with the salt shaker food manufacturers are automatically excluding almost one-seventh of the world population from their target market? That is a huge demographic that is not able to consume their food.

It’s not as if anyone is ignorant about the dangers of using or not using salt. Salt is apparently both deadly and life giving at the same time. Too much salt and a hypertensive person’s blood pressure can go through the roof. But too little and it can cause fatigue, confusion and a whole spate of health issues that are just as dangerous. For hypertensive patients, therefore, working out the salt content in their food for a day is a difficult balancing act.

According to dieticians, roughly 2g a day is a hypertensive patient’s recommended daily allowance. That is fairly straightforward if they stick to home-cooked food. But the difficulty in counting those grammes becomes impossible when they take into consideration the salt content in bread, water, biscuits, cereals, etc. In order to get their 2gaccurate to the last microgramme must they avoid these and other externally prepared foods? That is surely turning cooking for a hypertensive family member into a complete nightmare.

Furthermore, their packaging does not help. In fact, it does exactly the opposite. For one thing the fonts are so tiny you need a magnifying glass to make out what they’ve written in their ingredients. On top of that none of the prepackaged food makers make it clear how much salt is in a single serving. I mean they write something but, just so you know, no one carries around a calculator nor do they have time to try and navigate the calculator application on their phone in the middle of the cereal aisle.

I know I shouldn’t say this but it’s almost as if they deliberately make it hard to navigate their ingredients. It’s not hard to do really. In bold letters how much salt, sugar and fat is in a single serving is all that is needed. But no, they are teeny in size and then they are hard to fathom and I’m an educated person!

It’s hard enough for hypertensive patients and their caregivers to liaise with their healthcare provider in order to get their medication just right but I’m sorry to say that every single food manufacturer is adding to their problems.

One last point I would like to make and I do not mean to offend but I also think that if you must add an excessive amount of salt to your manufacturing process just to make it taste better then you must not be very good cooks.

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