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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Soft drinks firms 'push poor diets'
crisps
Crisps and snacks can be rich in salt
Campaigners trying to cut the amount of salt in the UK diet say that soft drinks manufacturers are deliberately pushing unhealthy snacks.

Calculations published in a leading journal suggest that if everyone in the UK halved their daily salt intake, in line with doctors' recommendations, there would be approximately 5bn fewer soft drink sales here a year.

The campaigning group Consensus Action on Salt and Hypertension (Cash) says that soft drink firms are keen to promote salty snacks as a way of encouraging parched consumers to buy more soft drinks, and are opposing moves to try to improve health by cutting salt intake.

Coca Cola, says the group, even wants to combine the marketing of juice drinks with certain brands of crisps.


Cash calls on the softs drinks industry to drop any campaign to encourage sales of salty snacks

Professor Graham MacGregor, Cash
Professor Graham MacGregor, who leads Cash, said: "Cash are working with the government and the Food Standards Agency to try to reduce the levels of salt in the UK diet.

"Some food manufacturers and major supermarkets have already begun to reduce the very high salt content of their manufactured foods.

"Cash calls on the softs drinks industry to back this work by dropping any campaign to encourage sales of salty snacks, and work with them on this issue."

Extra litre

A study published on Monday demonstrates the powerful effects that excess salt consumption has on the human body.

More than 100 patients with high blood pressure were given either a high or a low-salt diet.

Those on the high-salt diet produced 2.2 litres of urine a day, compared to 1.3 litres for those on the low-salt diet.

Reducing dietary salt from 10g a day to the recommended five would mean drinking approximtaely 350mls a day more - equivalent to just over a can of drink.

High salt consumption has been linked to high blood pressure, which can place patients at increased risk of stroke or heart disease.

See also:

19 Feb 01 | Health
More reasons to shun salt
07 Feb 00 | Health
Supermarket war on salt
02 Mar 00 | Health
Sperm count fall blamed on salt
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