Salt may not be that bad for your health, according to new study


A new study published in the Lancet medical journal reveals that salt may not be as harmful for our health as it was previously thought. The recommended intake of salt is 5g a day, according to the World Health Organization. People have always been advised to cut down on their sodium consumption, but the new research implies that this should apply only to countries where the consumption is high, like China.

What is the new research telling us

The reason why too much salt is not good for one’s health is due to its connection to increased blood pressure, which is in turn linked to stroke. However, based on what the Canadian researchers said, there is no country that was able to get the sodium or salt intake as low as 5g of salt a day (or 2g of sodium) and there may be no point in lowering it in countries such as the US and the UK.

This new study comprises more than 90,000 people in 18 countries and was led by Prof Andrew Mente from the Population Health Research Institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. What Mente and his colleagues found was that the negative effects of sodium, such as high blood pressure and stroke, happened only in China, due to the consumption of soy sauce. It seems that people in China consume on average as much as 12g of salt per day (or 5g of sodium).

New other observations

What the researchers also found was that a very low level of salt caused in fact more heart attacks and deaths amongst people. This means that consuming salt moderately is the best thing to do in order to protect our bodies. The conclusion of the study is that a moderate intake of salt can actually be beneficial for cardiovascular health, while being harmful if the consumption is too low or too high, as Mente mentioned.

Nevertheless, the study has also received some criticism from Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, who believe that the new study was not conducted properly and lowering salt consumption in countries such as the UK and Japan did prove helpful for the population.


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