Joint report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and Committee on Toxicity (COT) on the use of potassium-based sodium replacers

In 2013, SACN was asked by the Department of Health to advise on the use of potassium-based sodium replacers to reduce the sodium content of foods.

Potassium-based sodium replacers were not originally included in the UK's salt reduction programme, as there were concerns that increasing potassium consumption could be hazardous for some (e.g. those with undiagnosed kidney disease), and because it was preferred to reduce the population's taste preference for salty foods by reducing salt content.

SACN, in collaboration with COT, found that the potential benefits of using potassium-based sodium replacers outweighed any perceived risks, and would have a large impact at the population level. They recommended that the government should encourage the food industry to consider the use of sodium replacers to reduce the sodium content of food.

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Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health says, "Whilst we welcome the findings from the report, we do question why this research has only just been published? We’ve known for many years that potassium based sodium replacers help reduce sodium in foods and outweigh the potential health risks. The government must now act swiftly to set new targets and proactively encourage food companies across different categories to explore the use of potassium-based sodium replacers to help reduce sodium levels in foods, and to stop thousands of people suffering and dying unnecessarily from strokes and heart disease"

Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director at Consensus Action on Salt and Health says, "Salt is unnaturally added to food in huge amounts and is putting up our blood pressure.  Conversely, potassium is contained naturally in fruit and veg and lowers our blood pressure. This advice will pave the way for thousands of food products to lower their salt levels, whilst still being tasty and safe to eat. What’s more, it will stop thousands of people suffering and dying unnecessarily from strokes and heart disease"

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