Is sea salt considered a food

1. What is table salt?

Table salt is the salt used for human consumption, also known as table salt or table salt. It consists mainly of sodium chloride (NaCl) and is the main source of sodium and chloride in the diet. Due to its flavor-giving and preserving properties, it is mainly added to processed foods such as bread, meat, sausage and cheese.


2. What does the body need table salt for?

Table salt is the main source of sodium and chloride in the diet. About 90% of the sodium or chloride is supplied to the body via table salt. As the predominant electrolytes in the extracellular fluid in terms of quantity, sodium and chloride are essential for certain body functions such as B. the maintenance of the fluid balance of the cells and the regulation of blood pressure.


3. How high is the consumption of table salt in Germany?

For women between the ages of 18 and 79, the mean table salt intake is 8.4 g / day. In the age group 50 to 59 years the intake is highest at 9.2 g / day. For men between the ages of 18 and 79, the mean salt intake is 10.0 g / day. Here, the 30 to 39-year-old men have the highest intake with 10.6 g / day. This information comes from the "Study on Adult Health in Germany" (DEGS)1.


4. How is the table salt intake determined in the population?

There are two methods of determining the table salt intake in the population. On the one hand, table salt intake can be determined on the basis of consumption (e.g. through diet protocols). On the other hand, the table salt intake in the population can be determined via the sodium excretion in the urine.

The determination of table salt intake based on consumption surveys provides, among other things. Due to the potential underestimation of food consumption due to the self-reports of the participants and the uncertain or missing recording of the addition / re-salting, only inaccurate results. The recording of table salt intake via the excretion of sodium in the urine provides more precise results. It is assumed that the excretion of sodium in the urine in 24 hours is proportional to the amount of table salt consumed daily. This method is considered to be a suitable method for estimating the table salt intake in the population.


5. Is there an orientation value for table salt intake?

Yes. An orientation value of up to 6 g of table salt / day is given for table salt intake. These 6 g of table salt are roughly equivalent to one teaspoon.

If table salt is used, it should be fortified with iodine and fluoride. It should be noted that the iodine content of uniodinated sea salt is only slightly higher than that of uniodinated table salt.


6. Do Germans eat too much table salt?

Yes. In Germany, around 70% of women and around 80% of men consume over 6 g of table salt per day, according to the “Study on Health in Germany” (DEGS) 1. In 39% of women and 50% of men, the table salt intake is even more than 10 g / day and 15% of women and 23% of men consume more than 15 g table salt / day. Based on the orientation value for table salt intake of up to 6 g table salt / day, it can be seen that the table salt intake is well above this value for a large proportion of the population and that the majority of the population therefore eats too much salt.


7. What happens if too much table salt is consumed?

If too much table salt is consumed, this is accompanied by an increase in blood pressure - the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) increases. High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, increased consumption of table salt also indirectly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Even with blood pressure values ​​in the suboptimal range (see Table 1), the risk is significantly increased. Overall, cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death with a share of almost 40%.


8. What is high blood pressure and when is high blood pressure present?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease of the vascular system in which the blood pressure values ​​are permanently too high and they exceed certain threshold values ​​even when the patient is resting. High blood pressure is present with repeatedly measured blood pressure values ​​of systolic ≥ 140 mm mercury (Hg) and / or diastolic of ≥ 90 mm Hg. Blood pressure values ​​of systolic <120 mm Hg and diastolic <80 mm Hg are considered optimal (see Table 1).


9. What is meant by suboptimal blood pressure?

Suboptimal blood pressure is understood to mean blood pressure values ​​that are not yet called hypertonic, but also no longer optimal (see Table 1). The cardiovascular disease risk is already significantly increased with suboptimal blood pressure values. About half of ischemic heart diseases and two thirds of strokes can be attributed to suboptimal blood pressure.


 Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg)
optimal< 120and< 80
suboptimal120–139and or80–89
Grade 1 hypertension140–159and or90–99
Grade 2 hypertension160–179and or100–109
Grade 3 hypertension ≥ 180and or≥ 110


10. What are systolic and diastolic blood pressure values?

The systolic blood pressure corresponds to the maximum pressure developed during the tension and expulsion phase of the left ventricle. The tension and expectoration phase is also known as systole. The systolic blood pressure is in the optimal range with values ​​of <120 mm mercury column (mm Hg).

The diastolic blood pressure corresponds to the minimum pressure during the relaxation and expansion phase of the heart muscle. The phase between the greatest pressure development (= systolic pressure) and the greatest pressure drop (= diastolic pressure) is called diastole. During diastole, the heart chambers fill with new blood. The diastolic blood pressure is optimal at values ​​<80 mm Hg.


11. How many people in Germany have high blood pressure?

The blood pressure values ​​are in 12.7% of women and 18.1% of men according to the "Study on Health in Germany" (DEGS)1 hypertonic (systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mm Hg and / or diastolic ≥ 90 mm Hg). Hypertension is present in 29.9% of women and 33.3% of men due to the measured blood pressure values ​​or due to the use of antihypertensive medication with known high blood pressure. In the age group of 70 to 79 year olds, almost 75% have hypertension. So high blood pressure is still widespread in the population and affects around 20 million adults in Germany.


12. Does high blood pressure also occur in children?

Yes. In Germany, children and adolescents also have high blood pressure. This is shown by the results of the "Study on the Health of Children and Adolescents in Germany" (KiGGS)2. The frequency increases with age. In the age group of 14 to 17 year olds, 52.5% of boys and 26.2% of girls have blood pressure values ​​of ≥ 120/80 mm Hg.


13. Do everyone react in the same way to a high salt intake? Are there so-called "salt-sensitive" people?

The response of blood pressure to a change in table salt intake is not the same for everyone. There are so-called "salt-sensitive" people who react to a change in table salt intake with a change in blood pressure. Studies have shown that in about 30% to 50% of hypertensive patients and in 10% to 20% of people with normotensive blood pressure (systolic <140 mm Hg; diastolic <90 mm Hg) the blood pressure reacts sensitively to the intake of table salt . In contrast, people who are not salt-sensitive do not react to a change in table salt intake, or only react with a slight change in blood pressure.

In addition, certain population groups react more sensitively, i.e. more sensitively, to the consumption of table salt than others: people of African or Afro-American origin, older people, overweight people and those with metabolic syndrome or renal insufficiency should be mentioned in particular.


14. Which foods contain a lot of table salt?

Table salt, which we add to our food by adding or re-adding salt, makes up only a small amount of our daily table salt intake. Most of the food comes from processed foods and the consumption of meals prepared outside the home. Processed foods from the food groups bread, meat, sausage and cheese make the largest contribution to the supply of table salt in Germany.


15. How can you see the salt content of packaged foods?

If the sodium content is stated on packaged foods, the table salt content can be calculated by multiplying the stated sodium content by 2.54. From December 2016 at the latest, the table salt content must be listed as a mandatory requirement in the context of food labeling.


16. What can I do if I want to reduce my table salt intake?

In general, the consumption of processed foods should be reduced and the consumption of unprocessed foods such as vegetables and fruits increased. In addition, the kitchen should be seasoned with spices and herbs instead of table salt. If table salt is used, table salt fortified with iodine and fluoride should be used.

If you want to reduce your salt intake, it is best to do this in small steps so that you can get used to the weaker salt taste. Children should also not be accustomed to a high salt intake in the first place.

Table 2 gives an overview of the table salt content of selected foods. How the table salt intake can be reduced across the population, see questions 17 + 18.


Portion size (consumable portion) GroceriesSalt content per serving in g
Cereals, bread and baked goods
1 piece (40 g) croissant 0,4
1 slice (45 g Brown bread 0,6
1 piece (60 g) whole-grain bread rolls 0,8
1 piece (50 g) Lye roll 1,0
Dairy products
Topping for a slice of bread (30 g) Cream cheese (at least 30% in dry matter) 0,03
1 small cup (150 g) Natural yoghurt (3.5% fat in dry matter) 0,2
1 slice (30 g) Emmentaler (at least 40% fat in dry matter) 0,2
1 slice (30 g) Gouda (at least 45% fat in dry matter) 0,6
1 slice (30 g) Sheep cheese (at least 50% fat in dry matter) 0,7
Meat products / fish
30 g salami 1,2
30 g Salmon ham 1,6
30 g Black Forest ham 1,6
1 piece (150 g) Rostbratwurst 2,2
150 g Kasseler 4
150 g salted herring 15
25 g Potato Chips 0,3
30 g Peanuts, roasted and salted 0,4
30 g Pretzel Sticks 1,3


17. Are there national strategies in Germany to reduce the consumption of table salt?

Yes. To this end, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has launched the national reduction and innovation strategy for sugar, fats and salt in finished products, in which representatives of the federal government as well as associations and institutions from the fields of nutrition, health, the food industry, consumer protection and science were involved.

The goals of the National Reduction and Innovation Strategy are to be achieved by 2025.

The BMEL has summarized questions and answers on the reduction and innovation strategy:


18. Is the DGE in favor of measures to reduce the consumption of table salt throughout the population in Germany?

Yes. The DGE urgently recommends that Germany participate in national and international initiatives to reduce the consumption of table salt throughout the population, above all by reducing the table salt content in processed foods. Because in order to reduce the consumption of table salt in the population, the processed foods bread, meat, sausage and cheese must contain less table salt. Due to food technology considerations, table salt should be saved, especially in the production of bread, the basic food.


1The "Study on Adult Health in Germany" (DEGS) is carried out by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). DEGS is part of the RKI's health monitoring system. With the study, the institute has been collecting nationwide data on the health of adults living in Germany since 2008.

2The "Study on the Health of Children and Adolescents in Germany" (KiGGS) is a long-term study by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on the health of children and adolescents in Germany and part of the RKI's health monitoring. The study repeatedly provides nationwide representative data on the health of the under 18-year-olds.