With almost 90% of Singaporeans exceeding the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s daily recommended salt intake, consider lower-sodium salt alternatives when preparing your next meal.
Cover image credit: iStock.com/bernie_photo
The average Singaporean consumes as much as 3,600mg of sodium1 daily, which works out to 9g or close to 2 teaspoons of salt. This is almost twice the WHO’s daily recommendation of 2,000mg of sodium2. Find out examples of commonly eaten foods with sodium levels that exceed the recommended daily allowance of 2,000 mg a day.
Image credit: Health Promotion Board, Singapore
Did you know that while “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, they do not actually mean the same thing? Sodium is a mineral and one of the chemical elements found in salt. On the other hand, salt (also known as sodium chloride) is a crystal-like compound comprising of about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. This is what we usually refer to as table salt.
Consuming excessive sodium can contribute to the increased risk of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. This is further associated with higher risks of cardiovascular complications such as stroke and heart attack. Between 2019 and 2020, as many as 1 in 3 Singapore residents aged 18 to 74 years old suffer from hypertension which is a serious public health concern.
This begs the question: How can you reduce our sodium intake for better health?
Fortunately, there are lower-sodium alternatives to table salt, one of which is potassium salt (K-salt).
Related: Eat Less: Salt
Image credit: iStock.com/Aygul Bulte
While table salt contains about 100% sodium chloride, lower-sodium salt typically has some of the sodium chloride replaced with other minerals such as potassium chloride, thus lowering its sodium content. Potassium chloride is a naturally occurring salt compound that is most commonly derived from the sea or the ground. In Singapore, most lower-sodium salt is potassium salt (K-salt), with approximately 30% of the sodium chloride replaced with potassium chloride.
The use of potassium salt (K-salt) confers additional benefits on top of sodium reduction. It helps to supplement potassium intake, which is currently at 2,500mg/day, below the recommended 3,500mg/day to 4,700mg/day3,4. Potassium works in tandem with sodium to regulate blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
When used as a direct replacement to table salt, potassium salt (K-salt) can reduce sodium content in foods by about 30% without compromising taste. A study by the Health Promotion Board, Singapore, showed that the majority of professional chefs and consumers did not notice any difference in taste between dishes cooked with table salt and potassium salt (K-salt). The results from this study further affirms that you can still whip up meals that are just as delicious and tasty while reducing your salt intake, simply by making the switch to lower-sodium salt.
Potassium salt (K-salt) is safe for the general population when used in moderation as part of your daily diet, as excess potassium is readily excreted by the kidneys.
Individuals with medical conditions that impair the excretion of potassium, such as those suffering from late-stage chronic kidney disease, should consult healthcare professionals for guidance on how to safely incorporate potassium salt (K-salt) into their diet.
Lower-sodium salt is readily available in most supermarkets and retailers.
Apart from lower-sodium salt, you can also purchase lower-sodium sauces, seasonings, cooking pastes and other products to help reduce your sodium intake. Simply look out for grocery items with the Healthier Choice Symbol and “Lower in Sodium” tagline. Alternatively, herbs, spices and other natural ingredients could be used to flavour food instead of salt.
When shopping for groceries, it is also important to look out for the sodium content on the Nutrition Information Panel (NIP).
Image credit: iStock.com/Pickstock
Related: Nutrition Information Panel
You can enjoy lower-sodium meals even when dining out. Simply look out for the Lower-Sodium Healthier Dining Identifier where you will be able to order dishes prepared with lower-sodium ingredients.
Finally, as with all food and drinks, remember to always consume in moderation.
Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next:
This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
The ABCs of Health Screening
The Importance of Sleep
How to Eat Right to Feel Right
Impact of Haze on health
Delicious Diabetes Friendly Recipes - Eat Well, Live Well
Myths and Misconceptions about Depression
View More Programmes
Physical activity is important to health. Get started with HPB's physical activity programmes and get more from life today!
Maintaining a healthy weight doesn't have to be a struggle.
Healthier SG Enrolment
Browse Live Healthy
In partnership with