Background and objectives. High salt intake increases blood pressure and thereby the risk of chronic diseases. Food reformulation (or food product improvement) may lower the dietary intake of salt. This study describes the changes in salt contents of foods in the Dutch market over a five-year period (2011–2016) and differences in estimated salt intake over a 10-year period (2006–2015). Methods. To assess the salt contents of foods; we obtained recent data from chemical analyses and from food labels. Salt content of these foods in 2016 was compared to salt contents in the 2011 version Dutch Food Composition Database (NEVO, version 2011), and statistically tested with General Linear Models. To estimate the daily dietary salt intake in 2006, 2010, and 2015, men and women aged 19 to 70 years were recruited through random population sampling in Doetinchem, a small town located in a rural area in the eastern part of the Netherlands. The characteristics of the study population were in 2006: n
= 317, mean age 49 years, 43% men, in 2010: n
= 342, mean age 46 years, 45% men, and in 2015: n
= 289, mean age 46 years, 47% men. Sodium and potassium excretion was measured in a single 24-h urine sample. All estimates were converted to a common metric: salt intake in grams per day by multiplication of sodium with a factor of 2.54. Results. In 2016 compared to 2011, the salt content in certain types of bread was on average 19 percent lower and certain types of sauce, soup, canned vegetables and legumes, and crisps had a 12 to 26 percent lower salt content. Salt content in other types of foods had not changed significantly. Between 2006, 2010 and 2015 the estimated salt intake among adults in Doetinchem remained unchanged. In 2015, the median estimated salt intake was 9.7 g per day for men and 7.4 g per day for women. As in 2006 and 2010, the estimated salt intake in 2015 exceeded the recommended maximum intake of 6 g per day set by the Dutch Health Council. Conclusion. In the Netherlands, the salt content of bread, certain sauces, soups, potato crisps, and processed legumes and vegetables have been reduced over the period 2011–2016. However, median salt intake in 2006 and 2015 remained well above the recommended intake of 6 g.
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