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Salt is no longer bad for you? Uh... What? CDC surprises!

Salt is no longer bad for you? Uh... What? CDC surprises!

What's that again?

A study (yeah I know... yet another study) commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  entitled "Sodium Intake In Populations: Assessment of Evidence" confirms that there is no evidence substantial enough to limit sodium consumption to less than 2,300 milligram daily for Americans. Researchers concluded that one-and-a-half to three tablespoons of salt per day is not detrimental to a person's health, contrary to past belief.

The report also discusses emerging debates about the proper level of dietary sodium intake. "Despite efforts over the past several decades to reduce sodium intake in the United States, adults still consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium every day," the researchers wrote.

Clearly, the average intake far exceeds the daily recommended cap of 2,300 milligrams, but based on the new findings, reducing salt intake isn't as important as once thought. "The committee found no consistent evidence to support an association between sodium intake and either a beneficial or adverse effect on most health outcomes," the researchers wrote.

One Fact Remains

High blood pressure remains a risk factor for high-sodium diets, and those with high blood pressure should not consume more than the suggested daily salt intake. In a 2011 study, 28,800 subjects with high blood pressure ages 55 and older were analyzed for almost five years. Their risk of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, and death from heart disease increased significantly when they consumed more than 7,000 milligrams of sodium a day or consumed less than 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day. As lower sodium levels decrease, triglyceride levels increase, which leads to increased insulin resistance and thus increased risk of heart disease.

So it appears to me that people in the middle are fairing the best. Keep it slightly above 3000 milligrams (earlier mentioned 3400 milligrams) and it should not have as detrimental of effects based on looking at what average people consume on a daily basis already and what the studies support.  Don't over do the salt but you can loosen the reigns a bit from being obsessed with completely wiping it out of your diet.  Well... at least until there is yet ANOTHER study that will contradict this one.

 

The Most Common Myths And Misunderstandings Of Salt Intake, According To The CDC:

  1. Salt and sodium are the same - False, even though these words are sometimes used synonymously, they are not the same thing. The Nutrition Facts panel you can find on the back of mostly any product will use the word "sodium," whereas the package may be advertised as "low salt" — blurring the fact that salt is made up of sodium and chloride.

  2. A muffin can easily contain more salt than a bag of chips - True, salt is hidden in sweet, salty, sour, and bitter foods — such as salad dressings, cheeses, pasta sauces, breads, and condiments.

  3. Most of the salt we consume is added to our food from a salt shaker during home cooking - False, only a small amount of salt is used during the cooking process or while eating at the kitchen table. Processed and restaurant foods account for 75 percent of our sodium consumption, which is why it's so important to limit eating out, especially at fast food places.
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Comments 3

Guest - Rich H. on Sunday, 14 July 2013 12:02

Interesting article on sodium. I think it proves that a lot more testing needs to be done. On a personal note, I am on a low sodium diet and that was one of the factors that helped lower my blood pressure. My doctor suggested 2400 mg a day, and although the amount varies each day, I usually have between 1700 and 2400 mg a day. I know that sodium has a big effect on blood pressure, at least for me. I still don't need medication for BP as the level stay within the normal range. Sodium probably has an effect in the earlier stages of BP, say when someone is pre-hypertensive. The longer someone's BP is high, the more likelihood they'll need medication. I'm just happy that lowering sodium worked for me.

Interesting article on sodium. I think it proves that a lot more testing needs to be done. On a personal note, I am on a low sodium diet and that was one of the factors that helped lower my blood pressure. My doctor suggested 2400 mg a day, and although the amount varies each day, I usually have between 1700 and 2400 mg a day. I know that sodium has a big effect on blood pressure, at least for me. I still don't need medication for BP as the level stay within the normal range. Sodium probably has an effect in the earlier stages of BP, say when someone is pre-hypertensive. The longer someone's BP is high, the more likelihood they'll need medication. I'm just happy that lowering sodium worked for me.
Scott Sulkazi on Sunday, 14 July 2013 19:36

I can understand that... but do not forget since you went on the low-sodium diet you also have been exercising regularly. How do you know that it was not the weight-loss paired up with the exercise that helped lower the blood pressure. I'm not saying to have more salt consumption, as you can see that too much salt (over 7000 milligrams) had caused huge issues... but remember that the study included people under 3000 milligrams as having the same issues as those who had too much... maybe you can lower blood pressure yet are there other risks now being introduced? Recently they said that weight loss is no sure fire way to lower your risk of heart disease and there were many people who lost weight and still dropped of heart attacks... I believe it comes down to the combination of elements that cause the risk factors and not attributed to any one single element alone.

I can understand that... but do not forget since you went on the low-sodium diet you also have been exercising regularly. How do you know that it was not the weight-loss paired up with the exercise that helped lower the blood pressure. I'm not saying to have more salt consumption, as you can see that too much salt (over 7000 milligrams) had caused huge issues... but remember that the study included people under 3000 milligrams as having the same issues as those who had too much... maybe you can lower blood pressure yet are there other risks now being introduced? Recently they said that weight loss is no sure fire way to lower your risk of heart disease and there were many people who lost weight and still dropped of heart attacks... I believe it comes down to the combination of elements that cause the risk factors and not attributed to any one single element alone.
Guest - Rich H. on Sunday, 14 July 2013 21:48

The reason I know that the sodium reduction helped is there was not much of a difference in my blood pressure until I actively reduced the sodium. After I started to lose the weight (this was during the first few months of weight loss), the blood pressure didn't come down much. By reducing the amount of sodium, eventually it came down. When I went back to high sodium foods for a few days in April 2012, I noticed my blood pressure went back up for a while. I went back to my low sodium diet and eventually it returned to normal. I know that I probably wouldn't have reduced the blood pressure much without the weight loss, but the sodium reduction definitely helped. There's sodium in all the food we eat, there's no reason to have the extra sodium from processed foods and the like. Everyone needs some sodium but Americans get way too much. I think the best advice is to talk with your doctor about the amount of sodium you should have.

The reason I know that the sodium reduction helped is there was not much of a difference in my blood pressure until I actively reduced the sodium. After I started to lose the weight (this was during the first few months of weight loss), the blood pressure didn't come down much. By reducing the amount of sodium, eventually it came down. When I went back to high sodium foods for a few days in April 2012, I noticed my blood pressure went back up for a while. I went back to my low sodium diet and eventually it returned to normal. I know that I probably wouldn't have reduced the blood pressure much without the weight loss, but the sodium reduction definitely helped. There's sodium in all the food we eat, there's no reason to have the extra sodium from processed foods and the like. Everyone needs some sodium but Americans get way too much. I think the best advice is to talk with your doctor about the amount of sodium you should have.
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