A new study says high salt intake does not harm healthy people, and in fact, it says people who cut down on salt too severely have more risks of developing cardiovascular problems. Prof. Andrew Mente, Ph.D., is the leader of the researching team.
Based on the results, they say that eating more than 3000 mg of salt a day is only dangerous for people suffering from hypertension. After the study was made publish on the Lancet last Friday, many specialists from the scientific community raised their voices against the statements made by Dr. Mente and his team.
Previous studies have shown a relationship between salt intake and cardiovascular problems, but Dr. Andrew and his colleagues wanted to know if said relationship could be affected by another disease, hypertension.
Dr. Mente’s team studied the medical history of 133,118 people, average age 55, who were separated into 2 different groups; 63,559 suffering from hypertension and 69,559 without blood pressure problems. The participants were asked to provide a daily urine sample which the specialists would use to assess sodium concentration levels.
When the experiment ended, they found out that only people who had hypertension were more susceptible to cardiovascular complications when consuming more than 3000 mg of salt a day. However, for both groups, participants with and without blood pressure problems, the risks of having cardiovascular events raised when the salt intake was below 3000 mg a day.
“Most of the population eats what they’re supposed to eat, based on the data,” Dr. Mente said. “They fall in the middle and that’s actually the sweet spot — the safest range of intake.”
Eating too LITTLE salt may INCREASE your risk of a heart attack, claims new researchhttps://t.co/oun47jqsjv
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) May 21, 2016
No wonder these statements caused an outcry within the scientific community. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should only consume up to 1,500 mg of salt everyday which is half of what the study suggests it’s the minimum acceptable. If correct, the paper could put AHA in a difficult position because the organization has helped to establish parameters for a general balanced diet for years.
A dangerous ingredient
Humanity has used salt to flavor meals since ancient times. In fact, there was a time when it was so valuable that people used it as money. After we figured how to mass produce it, it became a part of the everyday life. However, experts have said a lot of times that consuming salt in excessive amounts make kidneys throw too much protein into the bloodstream, and this is the major cause of some kidney and heart diseases. Because of this, physicians all over the world suggest their patients to cut down on salt, especially from processed sources. And according to the Heart Association, the human body retains a lot of water when the salt intake is too high, which puts additional strain in the heart.
“This is an extremely flawed analysis that doesn’t provide new information, and it should not be used to guide public policy,” said Dr. Elliott Antman, immediate past president of the AHA and an associate dean for clinical and translational research at Harvard Medical School.
To say the results of the study are controversial would be an understatement because almost every doctor and dietitian in the world suggest their patients to heavily cut down on salt if they want to have a healthy body. This group is questioning the methods used by the researching team, they specifically criticize how the data was obtained. Specialists who disagree with the results of the paper say that measuring the salt intake of a person only using urine samples is not accurate and inefficient. Some of them have even labeled the research team as irresponsible because a lot of people could change their diets because of what they are saying.
Specialists who disagree with the results of the paper say that measuring the salt intake of a person only using urine samples is not accurate and inefficient. Some of them have even labeled the research team as irresponsible because a lot of people could change their diets because of what they are saying.
Dr. Antman openly criticizes the paper, and warns that it should not be considered to make diet guides for the public. However, the modern citizen lives fast and barely pays attention to this kind of guides, or so governmental entities say:
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN), 90% of Americans eat more sodium that is recommended for a healthy diet. It also says that reducing the salt intake to 1,200 per day could save the state around $20 billion every year. This number is exponentially increasing because processed meals are the ones with more salt on them, and according to the PCFSN, the amount of fast food restaurants has doubled since the 70s.
To defend their study, Dr. Mentes and his team say that participants who had low salt intake, 3000 mg or less, were more likely to develop cardiovascular issues; 26% for those without hypertension and 34% for those without it. On the other hand, 23% of the participants with blood pressure problems who consumed 5,000 to 7000 mg of sodium a day were more likely to suffer from strokes and heart, but in the group without hypertension, there was no link between eating a lot of salt and heart problems.
Source: The Lancet