According to a cancer expert from World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), it's high time salt took its leave from the dinner table. † Professor Martin Wiseman opines that in order to keep cancer off, diners should stick with pepper mills only, and leave salt off their food.
As per dietary rules, adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day, but many people in the UK take in much more. About 10 to 15% of salt intake is added at the dinner table or during cooking, the WCRF says.
†"Basically we would say don't use salt, try to use other things that will add flavor. Because salt is added by food manufacturers, there is too much of it in our food before it even reaches our dinner table.
"But by adding extra salt to a meal, you are only making things worse", says Wiseman.
The bulk of salt in British† diets† comes from processed foods such as bread but Prof Wiseman opines† consumers could take action themselves, by cutting the amount added both during cooking and to the food on their plates.
Salt is positively correlated to† a† higher blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of strokes and heart disease. Salt has also been linked to stomach cancer, an earlier WCRF report says.
However, restaurateurs in Wales†† have taken offence to Prof Wiseman's suggestion.
Mary Ann Gilchrist, head chef of Carlton Riverside, Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, says she will not be removing salt cellars from her restaurant.
†"I have read all the information about salt but I still think people should have the right to choose whether they season their food or not, although I do like to see people taste their food first before adding salt. I hate going into restaurants where there is no salt available on the table.
"As chefs, I don't think we are in business to educate the public in that way. A certain amount of salt is needed in the diet, otherwise it can lead to cramp and other problems.
"However, there is a lot of salt in processed foods so that's why it makes sense to cook for yourself", she added.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also warns that† about three-quarters of the salt† normally consumed is† present already in† food bought off the shelves.
†"Lots of people think they don't eat a lot of salt, especially if they don't add it to their food. But don't be so sure.
"In the UK, 85% men and 69% women eat too much salt. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. And it's the sodium in salt that can be bad for your health", a FSA spokesman adds.