MDG 2010 has provided two key recommendations for this key message. Within each of the following key recommendations, the MDG has provided several tips on how to achieve these recommendations.
1. Limit salt intake to one teaspoon (5g) a day
- Reduce the amount of salt in cooking and the addition of other flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sauces (such as soya sauce, oyster sauce, tomato sauce) and flavouring cubes.
- Enhance the flavour of food using natural herbs and condiments such as garlic, onion, curry spices, white pepper, lemon grass, vinegar and lemon.
- Limit fast food consumption and request for low-salt dishes or no MSG-added meals when eating out.
- Learn to enjoy the natural flavour of foods without salt.
- Parents should introduce low-salt food to their children from childhood.
- Salt substitutes containing potassium chloride can be one way of reducing sodium intake. However, these substitutes may be harmful to individuals with certain medical conditions such as kidney and heart problems. These individuals should consult a medical doctor before trying such salt substitutes.
- Iodised salt is utilised in the Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) programme in specific areas and for high-risk groups. However, the consumption of iodised salt should not be more than one teaspoon (5g) daily.
2. Reduce consumption of highly salted foods and condiments
- Reduce intake of salty foods such as salted fish, salted eggs, salted vegetables, high-sodium snacks (such as potato crisps and fish & chips) and processed foods (such as sausages, chicken nuggets, meatballs and burgers).
- Choose foods with low sodium content instead of foods with medium and high sodium content within the same food group.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of preserved and processed foods.
- Soak preserved foods such as dried anchovies and prawns in water to reduce sodium content.
- Note the sodium content of a food in the Nutrition Information Panel, compare with other available brands of the same product, and choose the one with the lower sodium content. Choose brands with “low” or “lower” claims on the label, if available.
- Read the ingredient list on the food label and take note of all sources of sodium, such as monosodium glutamate and sodium nitrate.
Additional recommendations: Infants and children
Breastfeed babies exclusively at least up to six months. After a child reaches six months of age, mothers can feed the baby with home-made complementary foods with no added salt. If mother chooses to feed baby with commercially prepared complementary foods, read labels for sodium content when purchasing.
Children should limit the intake of high sodium snacks and fast foods. Instead, choose fresh fruits and low-sodium foods as snacks.
Consumption of processed foods such as chicken nuggets, meatballs and meat burgers that contain high sodium should be limited. It is advisable to choose low salt options or home-made processed foods with less salt.