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New Research Calls Salt Guidelines Into Question

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:48 AM
  • 8 Replies

Nov. 9, 2011 -- Everyone knows that too much salt is bad for you, right? Well, according to new research, not everyone is convinced.

Reducing dietary sodium (salt) helps lower blood pressure a little, but it also may increase levels of some hormones and unhealthy blood fats, a new review of studies shows.

Researchers say that means cutting back on sodium may not have a substantial health benefit.

But critics say the review draws faulty conclusions because it relies on too many small, short-term studies. They say the weight of research evidence shows clear health benefits when people cut back on sodium.

The review is an analysis of data from more than 167 studies of people with normal or high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to eat either high- or low-sodium diets.

It found that eating less than 2,800 milligrams of sodium a day helped lower blood pressure. But the reductions were small -- an average of 1% for people who had normal blood pressure to begin with and 3.5% for people with high blood pressure.

But cutting back on salt appeared to have other effects, too.

People on lower-sodium diets had an average 2.5% increase in cholesterol and a 7% increase in bad blood fats called triglycerides compared to people who were eating more than 3,450 milligrams of sodium -- an amount that's close to what the CDC says the average American eats every day.

Higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels are thought to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers say it's not clear why cutting back on sodium may affect blood fats.

Lower-sodium diets also boosted levels of the hormones renin and aldosterone, which can raise blood pressure. Researchers say that may be one reason that slashing salt from the diet has only modest effects on blood pressure.

"The theory that you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing salt intake and thereby blood pressure is tempting. But our study shows that the effect of reduced salt intake on blood pressure in healthy persons is only 1%," says study researcher Niels A. Graudal, MD, DrMedSci, in an email to WebMD.

"Furthermore, reduced salt intake leads to an increase in lipids [blood fats], which is bigger than the reducing effect on blood pressure. Therefore it is likely that reduced salt intake does not have a beneficial effect. On the contrary the net effect may be harmful," says Graudal, who is a senior consultant in the departments of rheumatology and internal medicine at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

continued...

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20111108/new-research-calls-salt-guidelines-into-question


Should the FDA Regulate Sodium in Food?

The study is being released just a day before the FDA is scheduled to hear public testimony on reducing sodium in the food supply.




Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:48 AM
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Replies (1-8):
Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I <3 salt. We use a lot of sea salt and flaked sea salt!

stormcris
by Christy on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:52 AM

So do we. 

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I <3 salt. We use a lot of sea salt and flaked sea salt!


Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
Tanya93
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM

I never use salt when cooking, except in baking and making pickles.  I find most things too salty.  If it needs salt, I will add it after I serve it.

Peanutx3
by Ruby Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I don't think the government should regulate sodium in foods.  I also use sea salt sparingly in my cooking.

OHgirlinCA
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 11:12 AM

 I don't think the government should regulate sodium in food.  As for myself, I don't pay attention to how much salt I eat.  Noone in my household has high blood pressure.

jehosoba84
by Jenn on Nov. 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM

 The FDA regualtes enough things as it is. Leave sodium alone. Let Americans make their own choices! Especially when science cant even decide if cutting back is good or not.  I find that many things have enough salt as it is and I dont use it much when I cook. I find that I usually prefer less salt in my food that most people around me.

DivingDiva
by Gold Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I don't think the FDA should regulate sodium but I do voluntarily choose to limit my intake.  In my case it seems to help to keep my blood pressure in check.  I try to rely on other spices and not so much on salt for flavor. 

Lillias
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Me too!  The only thing I don't salt is ham and bacon.  I need to keep my fat fresh so it doesn't spoil.  winter is just around the bend......

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

I <3 salt. We use a lot of sea salt and flaked sea salt!


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