Results of a recent European study suggest that a diet high in salt may actually be good for healthy individuals, but that revelation isn’t sitting well with the American Heart Association.
Jan A. Staessen, MD, PhD, of the University of Leuven, Belgium, was the lead scientist in an 8-year study that measured urinary sodium levels in 3,681 healthy, people in their 40s. Their studies show that those with the most sodium in their bodies had a much lower chance of dying from heart problems than those with a lower level.
Despite that finding, the American Heart Association (AHA) still disagrees and advises people to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day – which is much less than the estimated 3,600 to 4,800 milligrams of sodium most Americans are thought to eat every day.
On the other hand, the Salt Institute predictably was praising the study and said that the study shows that the U.S. government’s war on salt consumption will cause harm to people instead of saving them from heart problems as the AHA claims. They say the study shows that more people will die if they don’t consume salt products.
The AHA officials spoke out against the study results, saying that there were major issues with it and that it was contrary to every other study that has been done. They noted that the study only tested young, white Europeans with no existing high blood pressure or heart disease in too short of a test. The test was done on urine output over a 24 hour timeframe.
They point to many other studies that reflect the opposite data and show that a high salt intake can cause things such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. They cited many randomized trials and tests that showed that those who ate a lower sodium filled diet had lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks and fewer strokes.
Staessen and his colleagues did note that blood pressure went up slightly in those people in the study that had the highest sodium levels. They did agree that people who have problems with high blood pressure could lower it by eating less salt. But they still believe that past studies have overestimated how salt consumption affects people who are healthy and not overly sensitive to sodium.
The study also shows that some people have a very hard time eating less salt and that a person’s body actually fights against them lowering their salt intake and will regulate itself to keep its sodium levels in a certain range. From healthaim.