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More Salt, Less Salt: Experts Disagree

April 3, 2016
Plain English Version

More saltToday’s dietary advice may not be true tomorrow. Eighteen months ago the advice was to Put Down that Salt Shaker. That is now changing. Pick it up is more like it.

A large study said cutting back too much on sodium might harm your health.

Different health groups set daily dietary sodium levels. Most are between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams or lower. This is below the average U.S. daily consumption of about 3,400 milligrams.

The new study said those who consumed fewer than 3,000 milligrams had a 27 percent higher risk of death, heart attack or stroke. It said consuming 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams was about right.

An expert said this study shows that too little salt may cause harm. People in the study took in an average 4,930 milligrams a day. Going over 6,000 milligrams was dangerous.

It looks like 3,000 to 5,000 milligrams is a good target.

The American Heart Association disagrees. A cardiologist said, “We hold fast to the recommendation that there is a need to reduce sodium intake in the diet.”

The Food and Drug Administration will review the findings. It still supports the need to reduce the sodium content of food.

Studies show that low-salt diets helped people with hypertension reduce their blood pressure levels. However, no studies show lowered blood pressure reduces the risk of death or serious heart problems.

If all this is confusing to the reader, it is because experts disagree. Moderation is still the best answer. Remember, most salt does not come from the shaker. It comes from processed food and restaurant meals.

Source: The Wall Street Journal August 13, 2014

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