Too Much Salt Poses Risks

Too Much Salt Poses Risks Too Much Salt Poses Risks

Iran’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has emphasized the need to reduce the amount of salt in certain food products and warned about the risk of goiter in case of neglecting consumption of iodized salt.

“Unrefined salt contains heavy metals like arsenic which are dangerous for the body if used in the long term,” Rasoul Dinarvand, deputy health minister and head of the FDA, was quoted by ISNA as saying.

The amount of harmful substances in refined salt has been minimized over the years through checks and controls by the public health watchdog, and iodine has also been added to table salt.

“Fortunately, we have been able to control goiter (the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that is not functioning properly) through a 20-year program. However, if people do not use iodized salt, it will recur,” he warned.

Lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic are the most important heavy metals which may cause health risks following consumption of contaminated table salt. Purified table salt has lower level of contamination, but some Iranians still prefer unrefined rock salt, though its use for food purposes has been banned by the health authorities, says an article from the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

The FDA official stressed that although iodized salt is preferred to the usual table salt, its over-consumption is not advised “as excessive use of any kind of salt increases blood pressure and can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.”

He also pointed out that the average salt consumption in Iran is much higher than international standards.

Due to the high amount of salt, “products like pickles are harmful to health. So it is advised that people check consumption of such food as it might not be possible to reduce the salt content because it is required to preserve the product,” he noted.

Saying that in general it is better to reduce salt in foods, he added, “If less salt does not affect the quality of the product, then it is advised to follow suit. For instance, we can produce all kinds of bread without using salt while maintaining the quality.”