The article Heart disease in Pakistan published on 02 January 2022 stated that Pakistan ranks 18 out of 183 countries of the world, in coronary heart attack deaths.
On further research, I found an analysis of blood pressure screening results from Pakistan-South Asia report that states that more than 50% of the tested population in Pakistan had hypertension. The higher level of obesity and increased salt and fat intake from consuming more processed foods and low physical activity are being attributed to the higher prevalence of hypertension in the urban population.
Reducing salt intake has been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can undertake to improve population health outcomes. Even the Government of Pakistan and The Pakistan Dietary Guideline for Better Nutrition published by the FAO emphasized on the need for restriction of dietary salt intake to less than 5 gram/day.
An alternate to dietary salt can be found in Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG can significantly reduce sodium as it contains one-third the amount of sodium compared to table salt. Extensive scientific research conducted by the WHO and FAO has confirmed that MSG is safe for human consumption and has tremendous public health benefit. Taking these details into account, the government should review the legal and regulatory restrictions on the consumption of MSG in the country.
Syed Ovais Akhtar (Karachi)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022