STATES CHRONICLE – According to a study published in the journal Lancet, eating too little salt may boost the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Though the research has been dismissed as “bad science” by some critics, the findings are concerning.
In their study, scientists sifted through data on 130,000 people from 49 states across the world. The team found that some participants were on a low-salt diet and consumed up to 3 grams per day, others consumed salt moderately (between 4 and 5 grams per day), while the rest reported consuming high amounts of sodium (at least seven grams per day).
Researchers found that those that ate salt in moderating were less likely to be killed by a heart attack or stroke on the long run. Surprisingly, the volunteers on a low-salt diet, which is considered healthy especially if you have high blood pressure, had a relatively high risk of dying from a cardiovascular event.
The study found that people with hypertension had a high risk of cardiovascular death if they both ate high and low amounts of salt. People with no blood pressure problems were 11 percent more likely to die from heart attack or stroke or be affected by a major cardiovascular event if they consumed less than three grams per day.
Dr Martin O’Donnell, senior researcher involved in the study, questioned the accuracy of federal guidelines on salt intake in the light of the new study. He believes that moderation is the key to remain healthy even when it comes to salt intake.
But Francesco Cappuccio of the World Health Organization severely criticized the latest findings. He attacked both the research team and the medical journal that agreed to publish their study.
Cappuccio said that the research paper was in fact a ‘re-publication’ of older data from another paper laden with ‘flaws and criticism.’ Sadly, the criticism in that previous paper was largely ignored in the latest study, Cappucio believes.
The WHO expert also found that salt intake was measured by analyzing urine samples taken in the morning and those measurements were then used to asses the salt intake throughout the entire day leading to ‘flawed’ results
Cappuccio also criticized the work for using people with a high risk of cardiovascular events rather than healthy participants. The professor concluded that not low-sodium intake killed the study participants, but their diseases, which also forced them to eat less salt.
Nevertheless, independent researchers defended the latest findings and understood the latest criticism as a reaction to a study that has just challenged the low-salt diet ‘dogma.’
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