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Is Dietary Salt All That Bad?

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Is Dietary Salt All That Bad?

It is hard to know what to believe these days a study conducted in 2006, though not well publicised, has found that lower salt diets may be linked to an increase (not a decrease!!)  in risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Individuals who maintained a diet consistent with current medical recommendations, i.e. a daily consumption of less than 2,300 mg of sodium (salt) were 37 percent more likely to have died from cardiovascular disease and 28 percent more likely to have died from other causes, when compared with individuals with higher sodium consumption.

The study was statistical only not clinical where the researchers examined 7,154 individuals, looking for links between sodium intake and risk of death.

The findings that people consuming less than the 2,300 mg per day of sodium  were at  significantly greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than people who had consumed greater amounts, held even after accounting for caloric intake, age, smoking and other known risk factors.

“Since this was a statistical study and not a clinical trial, there can be no real conclusion that a low-sodium intake may be harmful. But at the study does raise some questions about common perceptions of salt consumption.

Whilst other medical bodies are not condemning the study, without a full clinical analysis there is insufficient evidence to warrant deviating from the current recommendations with respect to limiting salt intake. So the 2,300 mg a day daily intake and adults is still the recommendation from Australian medical authorities. Interesting to see if this work will be investigated further any further any time soon.


Source:  Study “Sodium Intake and Mortality in the NHANES II Follow-up Study” by Hillel W. Cohen, MPH, DrPH  Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.  Published on Amercian Journal of Medicine.



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