Is less salt really healthier?

Posted on June 1, 2010

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Eating less salt can have beneficial effects on the incidence of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January.

An article in HealthDay News about the study states that the researchers used a computer model to analyze data that had been published earlier on heart disease. “The model then predicted that the reduction of 3 grams of salt a day would cut the number of new cases of coronary heart disease each year by 60,000 to 120,000; stroke by 32,000 to 66,000 cases and heart attacks by 54,000 to 99,000.” The article also said that reducing salt intake would also save money in yearly health costs. Noticeable differences would also be seen even if one gram of salt were cut from the diets of American’s.

The New York Times, article “Big Benefits Are Seen From Eating Less Salt” states that the Institute of Medicine appointed a panel that will be issuing a report with suggestions about lowering salt intake.

Not everyone thinks that reducing salt intake is a good idea. In the New York Times article, Michael Alderman, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, stated that the study did not take into consideration that there could be other impacts of a reduced sodium diet. According to Alderman, reducing salt might also lead to hormonal imbalances in the adrenal and kidney systems. He suggested that trials need to consider these effects in addition to lowering blood pressure.

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