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Current daily salt intake in Germany: biomarker-based analysis of the representative DEGS study

SA Johner, M Thamm, R Schmitz, T Remer

European Journal of Nutrition 2015; 54(7): 1109-15. doi: 10.1007/s00394-014-0787-8.


Purpose: A high dietary salt intake is a serious risk factor for the development of hypertension. Daily salt intake in most of the European countries substantially exceeds the current recommendations of salt intake. For Germany, so far, no valid biomarker-based data on current daily salt intake are available.

Methods: Data basis for this biomarker-based estimation of salt intake in the German population was the representative DEGS Study (German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults) conducted 2008-2011 in 18-79 old adults living in Germany. Daily salt intake was estimated from 6,962 sodium and creatinine measurements in spot urine samples.

Results: Median estimated daily salt intake of the 18-79 olds was 10.0 g in men and 8.4 g in women. More than 75% of men and about 70% of women exceeded the current recommendation of a maximum salt intake of 6 g/day. Fifty percentage of men and more than 35% of the women had a daily salt intake >10 g.

Conclusion: Daily salt intake of the German population considerably exceeds the current recommendation to eat no more than 6 g salt per day. A general reduction of salt content in processed foods-which are currently the main source of salt intake-offers a promising and cost-effective potential for the improvement of all salt intake-dependent health outcomes in the population.


Germany flag

Germany map

Salt intake (g/d) in Germany (2011)

  Median 95% CI
Men (n=3340) 10.0 9.7-10.4
Women (n=3622) 8.4 8.1-8.7

Method: spot urines (Na/Cr)