World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has advised that cutting back on salty foods such as bacon, bread and breakfast cereals may reduce people’s risk of developing stomach cancer.
It wants people to eat less salt and for the content of food to be labelled more clearly.
Too much salt is bad for blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause cancer.
The recommended daily limit is 6 g, about a level teaspoonful, but the World Cancer Research Fund said people were eating 8.6 g a day.
WCRF estimated that 14% of cases, around 800, could be avoided if everyone stuck to their 6 g a day.
Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: “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.”
Eating too much salt is not all about sprinkling it over fish and chips or Sunday lunch, the vast majority is already inside food.
It is why the WCRF has called for a “traffic-light” system for food labelling – red for high, amber for medium and green for low.
However, this has proved controversial with many food manufacturers and supermarkets preferring other ways of labelling food.