Salt Isn’t as Bad as Bad for You as You Think

Government and health authorities are constantly saying that people need to reduce their intake of salt.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a daily intake of no more than 2300 milligrams (mg) of salt and only 1500 mg for those over 50.  However, there is increasing doubt about these salt guidelines.

The April 2, 2014 American Journal of Hypertension, analyzed 25 prior studies and found that very low levels of salt consumption may even be linked with a greater risk of death.  The author of this review, Dr. Niels Graudal, a senior consultant at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark said “For most people, there is no reason to change their dietary habits concerning salt, as most people eat what appears to be the safest amount.”  The study concluded that the safest level of salt consumption is “between 2,645 and 4,945 mg of salt a day … And most of the world’s populations consume that amount, according to background information in the study.”  (see http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20140402/cdc-salt-guidelines-too-low-for-good-health-study-suggests)

The Washington Post reports that there is continuing scientific controversy over the low governmental salt intake guidelines, with substantial scientific opinion supporting higher limits. While the Federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee  has indicated it will recommend keeping the 2300 mg daily limit for the general population, it reports that the Advisory Committee will eliminate the recommendation of the even lower 1500 mg limit for those over 50 (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/06/more-scientists-doubt-salt-is-as-bad-for-you-as-the-government-says/).

Consumers do not have unequivocal guidance as to salt intake, but those in normal health can reasonably conclude that they can relax their vigilance on salt and that they should avoid very low salt diets.

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