News / Health

Salt Study Discredited By Medical Experts

U.S. public health officials say the upper limit of salt consumption should be 2,300 milligrams per day. The American Heart Association says that it should be no more than 1,500 milligrams. The Salt Institute says 2,300 milligrams is far too little.
U.S. public health officials say the upper limit of salt consumption should be 2,300 milligrams per day. The American Heart Association says that it should be no more than 1,500 milligrams. The Salt Institute says 2,300 milligrams is far too little.

Multimedia

A new study published in a respected American medical journal concludes that low-salt diets could lead to heart disease.  U.S. public health officials say Americans are eating too much salt. The study caused a controversy about how much salt is OK and how much is too much.  

The controversy began when a study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association contradicted long-standing advice from public health officials and medical specialists on heart disease, stroke and recommended salt consumption.

The study involved more than 3,600 men and women and followed them for eight years until the participants were about 49-years-old. When the data was analyzed, those who consumed the lowest amounts of salt turned out to be the most likely to die from cardiovascular disease. The study also reports that salt consumption did not cause high blood pressure for some 2,000 participants whose blood pressure was normal at the start of the study.

The study was hailed by the U.S. salt industry.  Lori Roman is president of the Salt Institute, the industry's research arm.  "The evidence continues to mount...that reducing sodium can cause great harm,” she said. “And that salt reduction as a strategy to reduce blood pressure is not the best choice."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publicly criticized the salt study, something the federal health agency rarely does.  The CDC's Dr. Peter Briss says one study does not change the evidence against salt.

"Salt increases blood pressure.  More salt leads to higher blood pressure and higher blood pressure leads to worse cardiovascular health," said Dr. Briss. He said the study was too small, and the participants too young.  He added that some of the participants who died were heavy smokers.  Dr. Briss said there is no evidence that reducing salt is harmful, a point echoed by Dr. Stephen Havas, an expert on cardiovascular disease.

"You have to put this study in the context of how much evidence is out there. The World Health Organization referred to the evidence on the harmful effects of sodium as being conclusive," said Dr. Havas.

In medical research, the word 'conclusive' is rarely used.  In the U.S., warnings on packages of cigarettes say they can cause lung cancer and heart disease.  But a majority of doctors agree that eating too much salt will cause cardiovascular disease.

U.S. public health officials say the upper limit of salt consumption should be 2,300 milligrams per day. The American Heart Association says that it should be no more than 1,500 milligrams.

The Salt Institute says 2,300 milligrams is far too little. "People consume in a very normal and natural range of sodium - somewhere between 2,500 and 4,500 milligrams a day is very normal and natural," said Roman.

"You risk having a stroke, you risk having a heart attack if you are consuming as much salt as the Salt Institute is recommending," Dr. Havas stated.

As for the study itself, Dr. Havas says it is weak and its methodology flawed. Public health officials are concerned that it was published in a prominent American medical journal.  "It just confuses the public,” he said. “It shouldn’t have gotten out there.  Certainly should not have gotten out in a prestigious journal."

The Salt Institute says it would like to see the study repeated. The medical community maintains people should limit their intake of salt, and while doing that, follow a healthy diet, exercise and if overweight, loose at least some of the excess.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid