Go light on salt, says Cerebos

Cerebos LiteLeading salt brand Cerebos has launched Cerebos Lite Salt, a salt alternative that will allow consumers to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their salt intake to healthy levels.

Nico Basson, who heads up marketing at Cerebos, says Cerebos Lite Salt is a mix of potassium chloride and sodium chloride.  Sodium, which increases the risk of developing high blood pressure is the main cause of strokes and a major contributor to heart and kidney disease and diabetes, makes up 40 per cent of conventional table salt.   

Cerebos Lite Salt contains just 65 per cent sodium chloride with 35 per cent potassium chloride.

Cerebos Lite Salt complements an existing product – Cerebos Low Salt – which, with a sodium chloride content of just 50 per cent, has already been successfully used by both the health conscious and people with diabetes and hypertension, to improve their eating habits.

These alternative salt products can play a similar role to sweeteners which have helped consumers reduce their sugar intake and improve their health, says Basson.

‘It’s about achieving a balance. Salt does play an important part in health but, like most good things, it can be harmful when used in excess,’ he points out.  

Salt is important for good nerve and muscle functioning. It helps control blood sugar, maintains the right levels of stomach acid needed for good digestion, reduces stress hormones and improves sleep quality, improves metabolism and encourages a healthy weight, supports healthy thyroid function and balances hormone levels.

However, too much sodium in the body has been linked to high blood pressure (hypertension), which in turn increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

According to the World Health Organization, adults should consume no more than 2 000mg of sodium per day, which is equivalent to a five gram teaspoonful of salt. South Africans’ average salt consumption is between 9.8g and 7.8g, depending on culture and associated eating preferences.

As a responsible brand Cerebos has launched a Be Salt Wise campaign to encourage people to proactively tackle potentially fatal lifestyle choices and diseases by eating wisely.

The South African government has put legislation in place to limit salt usage by manufacturers and food processors.  The legislation is to reduce levels of salt in products such as bread, breakfast cereals, margarines and fat spreads, potato crisps, ready-to-eat snacks, processed meats and raw-processed meat sausages, dry soup, gravy powders and stock cubes and dry savoury powder for instant noodles. South African law requires that these products meet strict sodium targets by June 2106 with a further reduction scheduled for June 2018.

Although these “hidden” sources of salt usually account for most people’s salt intake, consumers can also play an active role in ensuring that they do not eat too much salt.

Sodium is found naturally in foods such as dairy products, eggs, meat and vegetables, but in much higher levels in ready-made and processed foods. These “hidden salts” make up about 75 per cent of the salt we consume. The first step to keeping your sodium levels is to cut down on these and eat more whole, unprocessed foods, fruit and vegetables, Basson advises.

An added plus is that Cerebos Lite and Cerebos Low Salt contain higher levels of potassium, a “good” mineral that helps combat the very problems that sodium chloride aggravates. Many people have low levels of potassium which contributes towards high blood pressure and related diseases such as stroke and heart disease.