By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., September 12, 2011 - 11:44am
In spite of decades of advice to lower our salt intake to prevent high blood pressure, recent headlines screamed that a low-salt diet is ineffective—spurred by the results of a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension. The New York Times ran with “Cutting Salt Has Little Effect on Heart Risk” and the UK’s Daily Mail used, “Cutting back on salt ‘does not make you healthier’ (despite nanny state warnings).” In the study, researchers from the UK and the U.S. looked at seven studies with a total of 6,489 participants and the impact of lowering salt intake. The conclusion was that eating less salt did not prevent heart attacks, strokes or early death.
After reading that, friends are cornering me—because I’m a nutrition professor and the chair-elect of the American Heart Association (AHA) Nutrition Committee—wondering if they can stop watching their salt intake.
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So are the headlines to be believed? Did the results of this study turn decades of advice about lowering salt intake on its head? I don’t think so and here’s why:
In light of all this, what should you do? You can retrain your taste buds to enjoy food with less salt.
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