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Put Down that Saltshaker

February 25, 2013
Plain English Version

Experts say putting the saltshaker down could save 50,000 lives a year. Lowering the amount of salt (sodium) people use to 2,200 milligrams a day could save another 35,000 lives a year.

An additional 35,000 lives could be saved annually if people lowered their salt use to 1,500 milligrams a day.

The numbers are impressive. Today, Americans take in about 3,600 milligrams of salt a day. Much of it is hidden in processed foods such as soups, cereals and bread.

Advocates and scientists are working with food companies to reduce the amount of sodium in their products. They are betting that consumers will not notice.

The problem with too much sodium is that it can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension.). Nearly half of heart disease in Americans is caused by high blood pressure.

Experts say lowering salt use would save as many lives as curing colorectal cancer, or influenza and pneumonia, or stopping all deaths from car accidents.

Some restaurants are removing saltshakers from their tables and lowering the amount of sodium in their meals.

The Los Angeles Times

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