Eating too LITTLE salt may INCREASE your risk of a heart attack or stroke, claims controversial new research
- Long-held that high-salt diet increases the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Dramatic U-turn as new study suggests low-salt intake has same effect
- WHO expert tells of ‘disbelief’ at study as he blasts the ‘bad science’
- WHO recommends people eat between 5 and 6g of salt each day
- But, average person consumes twice that, eating 9 to 12g per day
It has long been held that a diet high in salt is dangerous to the heart, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.
But, in a dramatic U-turn, the scientific evidence has suggested the opposite can also be true.
A global study has found that, contrary to past belief, low-salt diets may not be beneficial.
Rather, they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, compared with average salt consumption.
The study, published in the reputable Lancet journal, has garnered strong reaction, with one expert declaring his ‘disbelief’, while others are critical of the study’s methods, and calling its findings into question.
The research was carried out by investigators at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
They analyzed more than 130,000 people across 49 countries, focusing on whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure.
Their findings showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-salt intake is linked to a greater incidence of heart attacks, stroke, and deaths compared to average intake.
Dr Andrew Mente, lead author, and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, hailed the findings ‘extremely important’ for those suffering high blood pressure.
He said: ‘While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension (high blood pressure), it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels.
Dr Mente said that this suggests that the majority of individuals in Canada and most countries are consuming the right amount of salt.
He added that targeted salt reduction in those who are most susceptible because of hypertension and high salt consumption may be preferable to a population-wide approach to reducing sodium intake in most countries except those
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