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You are probably eating too much salt

Australians consume roughly double their recommended salt intake each day, and intake is trickier to track than you might think.

According to a study by Sydney's George Institute for Global Health, the average Australian consumes 9.6 grams of salt each day, well above the World Health Organisation's daily recommendation of five grams.

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Aussie salt intake twice recommended levels

Australians are ingesting almost twice the recommended daily intake of salt.

Interestingly, the study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia earlier this year, found people overwhelmingly underreported their salt consumption.

Dietitian Susie Burrell says the problem is rarely that people are heavy handed with the salt shaker. Most salt Australians consume is hidden within our food.

"Sauces we use each day such as soy and tomato sauce can be packed full of salt, as well as sausages, stocks and soups," she says.

This week is World Salt Awareness Week. With the health consequences of excess salt consumption ranging from fluid retention and kidney stress in the short-term to increased blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke in the long-term, the average Australian needs to cut down their consumption.

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Burrell advises looking at the nutritional information on packaged foods, and trying not to consume items that exceed 400mg of sodium.

"You have 1600mg [of sodium] a day to play with, so a food that contains 1000mg per serve is very high," she says.

There is good news: reducing your salt intake does get easier.

"It’s also good to remember that adding extra salt is like adding to sugar to tea or coffee, and can become a habit over time as our taste buds adapt to the salty taste of food," Burrell says.

"The same can work in reverse, the less you have, the less you will want it, and the less frequently you will add it."