Poor food labels blamed for stomach cancer caused by high salt intake
23rd July 2012
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has spoken out about the issue of salt content in foods, calling for all companies to label their products more clearly. This is in response to the increasing number of stomach cancer cases that have been linked to a high consumption of salt. High levels of salt are particularly prominent in popular foods such as bread, bacon, cheese, breakfast cereals, crisps and soup. The recommended daily salt intake for adults is 6g, which is approximately around one full teaspoon. This figure is obviously less for children and babies, and the following are the general guidelines for salt intake depending on age: . 1 to 3 years: 2g salt a day (0.8g sodium). . 4 to 6 years: 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium). . 7 to 10 years: 5g salt a day (2g sodium). . 11 years and over: 6g salt a day (2.4g sodium). The WCRF say that if adults strictly kept to this 6g limit, then this could help to reduce the 6,000 new cases of stomach cancer each year in the UK by 14% (around 800). Kate Mendoza, health of health information at the charity, says, “Stomach cancer is difficult to treat successfully because most cases are not caught until the disease is well-established. This places even greater emphasis on making lifestyle choices to prevent the disease occurring in the first place – such as cutting down on salt intake and eating more fruit and vegetables.” She further continued, “Because around three-quarters of the salt we consume is already in processed food when we buy it, WCRF would like to see traffic light labelling on the front of food and drink packaging to give clear guidance on the levels of salt as well as sugar, fat and saturated fat. Standardised labelling among retailers and manufacturers – rather than the different voluntary systems currently in place – would help consumers make better informed and healthy choices.” As Kate Mendoza explained, the difficult aspect of dealing with stomach cancer is that it is not usually diagnosed until the disease is at an advanced stage. Medical Specialists Pharmacy advises that you visit your doctor immediately for a check-up if you suffer from any of the following early symptoms of stomach cancer: . Heartburn. . Persistent indigestion. . A bloated feeling after eating. . Trapped wind and incessant burping. . Feeling full very soon after beginning to eat. . Difficulty in swallowing. As you can see, many of the early-stage symptoms of stomach cancer are quite similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is why it is vital to see your GP who will ask you detailed questions, and refer you for further scans if necessary. If it is IBS you have, then this can be treated with a wide range of effective medications such as Mebeverine and Buscopan IBS relief. In addition, there is also the medication Lansoprazole which can help with acid reflux problems that cause heartburn and complications with swallowing. All aforementioned medicines are available at low prices from the Stomach and Bowel section of the Medical Specialists Pharmacy website.