Salt Does Not Increase the Risk of Health Problems, Shows Study

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Canadian researchers discovered that the consumption of sodium has no negative effect on health, contrary to what was previously believed. The risk of having health problems increases when the intake is over five grams per day.

One gram of sodium is equivalent to 2.5 grams of salt, and the recommended intake is between three and up to five grams per day of sodium (7.5 – 12.5 grams of salt).

This study was recently published in the Journal Lancet.

McMaster University researchers studied data from over 90,000 people from 18 countries. To estimate the daily intake of sodium, researchers analyzed data on morning urine samples.

The study concluded that three to five grams of sodium per day do not increase stroke or blood pressure. Out of the 18 countries in the study, only China had 80% of the adults consuming over five grams of sodium.

Andrew Mente (Population Health Research Unit, McMaster University) explains their study’s focus:

“Our study shows we should be far more concerned about targeting communities and countries with high average sodium intake and bringing them down to the moderate range.”

World Health Organization Has a Different Recommendation

The WHO recommends people to only consume less than 2 grams of salt per day to reduce health conditions linked to high intake of sodium – strokes and high blood pressure.

Experts in this field also question the recent study, arguing that the researchers used an inaccurate formula.

In an interview with CTV News, Dr. Norm Campbell, who is a cardiologist at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta (University of Calgary), stated that the results “when combined with what other researchers are finding, likely won’t affect international guidelines.”

As for the Canadian government, they will review the sodium intake and release a report in 2019.

Mente concludes: “at moderate intake, sodium may have a beneficial role in cardiovascular health, but a potentially more harmful role when intake is very high or very low.”

A professor of nutrition and dietetics (King’s College London), Tom Sanders, explains that sodium is essential for nutrition, but it should be very low, recommending 1.25 grams of salt per day (0.5 grams of sodium).

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere