11/01/2017 10:16 AM AEDT | Updated 13/01/2017 1:36 PM AEDT

We've Declared War On Sugar But Salt Is Still Ruining Lives

Don't be lured in by salted caramel -- it's bad for your health.

Adam Gault
It's not just the salt you sprinkle on top of your food that you need to watch out for.

Salt is having a moment in vogue, with salted caramel, artisan jerky and specialty rock salts getting our taste buds pinging.

We've even got 'Salt Bae' going viral as he adds a fair pinch of salt to roasted meat with flair.

After all, sugar is the enemy at present, right?

New research in the British Medical Journal begs to differ, highlighting the fact that Australians consume almost one and a half times the World Health Organisation's daily sodium recommendations.

When I speak to bureaucrats they say 'we've done heart disease' as though we've cured it.John Kelly

The Tufts University in Boston study also found salt contributed to disease so egregiously that if Australia could lower its salt intake by just 10 per cent, we'd collectively have an extra 10,000 healthy years of life across the population per year.

National Heart Foundation chief executive John Kelly told The Huffington Post Australia people were quick to forget campaigns showing the dangers of salt and how it contributed to hypertension and heart disease.

"People used to die from heart attacks whereas now, most people who have a heart attack live because of improved early warning signs and treatment rationale.

What that means is there are people living with chronic heart health issues and the community, governments and bureaucrats, they become a bit complacent.

If I'm not adding salt to my foods, where does it come from?

The foundation found 75 per cent our salt intake comes from the processed foods we eat every day, like some breads, breakfast cereals, processed meats, cheeses, sauces and spreads as well as snack foods and preserves.

"When I speak to bureaucrats they say 'we've done heart disease' as though we've cured it.

"We've been a bit quiet in the past few years, I guess essentially in competition with other cancers that may cause big family tragedy and loss."

Kelly said the link between excess salt and ill health was clear.

"It centres around hypertension, there's quite a direct evidentiary link that proves excess salt contributes to hypertension and we know that of the six million Aussies with hypertension, four million have uncontrolled hypertension.

Eric Delmar
Put the salt shaker down.

"It creates a social burden for families because chronic disease affects an entire family's lifestyle. Then on a population level, readmission to acute hospital wards is about $1500 a day. It's a great cost to the community and the nation, and cutting down on salt is a simple thing we can do."

The National Heart Foundation recommends no more than six grams (or about 1.5 teaspoons) of salt a day -- and that's in total, not added to meals.

"Controlling our food intake is the easiest way to reduce hypertension."

So, Australians, salt is not your bae.