Children under the age of six months should consume less than one gram of salt per day, according to guidelines set out by the Food Standards Agency. This should rise to one gram of salt for babies aged between 7 to 12 months and two grams for those aged one to three years old.
However, researchers found that 70 per cent of babies are receiving more than twice that amount and have called on manufacturers to reduce the levels of salt in processed foods, which makes up 75 per cent of the salt in a persons diet.
Processed foods that have large amounts of salt include tinned spaghetti, baked beans and gravy. Giving a baby cow’s milk can be harmful as it contains almost four times as much salt as breast or formula milk and the NHS guidelines recommend that children under the age of one year old should not drink cow’s milk at all.
Lead researcher, Vicky Cribb and nutritionist Dr. Pauline Emmett published their conclusions in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and said, “These findings show salt intakes need to be substantially reduced in children of this age group. Infants need foods specifically prepared for them without added salt so it is important to adapt the family diet.”
It has been proved that high levels of salt can cause damage to the kidneys, result in high blood pressure and encourage children to develop a taste for salty foods that can lead to poor eating habits in later life.
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