Salt

24 Feb

While more than 95% of people in 18 countries consume more than 3 grams of sodium per day, only 22% consume more than 6 grams. For healthy people the amount they are already consuming is likely okay. As far as these folks are concerned, the very low-sodium goals pushed by many health organizations are not only difficult to achieve but probably not advisable from a medical standpoint either. Remember that such diets are associated with a higher risk of cardiac events and even death.

To be sure, we need more information about how low salt intake affects our health. Large randomized controlled trials are needed to assess the value of very low-sodium diets. Usually such prospective trials are meant to confirm the associations we see in cohort or case-controlled studies. In this case, however, the epidemiologic studies suggest that very low-sodium diets may be harmful, not beneficial.

According to the FDA. about one-third of adults have high blood pressure. and they may want to reduce their salt intake. For the rest of us, the dire warnings about sodium we get from the health establishment might not apply.

With salt, as with so many other things. we have to be careful not to overdo or underdo it. Too many calories are bad for us. That doesn’t mean we should consume none. Too little exercise can be unhealthy. That doesn’t mean we should work out to the point of hurting ourselves. Too much sun can cause cancer. That doesn’t mean we should never go outside.

It’s a clich√©, but it’s true: moderation in everything. Processed foods often contain more sodium than we need or want, and we’re usually better off cooking for ourselves. But if the dish you make at home tastes like it needs more salt, it probably does.

Source: The Bad Food Bible book written by Aaron Carroll, M.D.

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