Salt Is Even More Unhealthy Than You Think

Quarter Pounder® With Cheese (1190 mg. sodium)Quarter Pounder® With Cheese (1190 mg. sodium)Even if your diet is very low in sodium, you may still get heart disease, but reducing your salt intake by just 3 grams a day, something very easy to do, could reduce your chances significantly.

Most of the salt we consume comes from processed foods, not from our salt shakers. A study by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), presented at the American Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, indicated that the processed food industry could contribute greatly to the health of Americans by reducing the amount of sodium in prepared foods by just a small amount.

Americans are now consuming an average of 9 - 12 grams of salt, or 3600 - 4800 milligrams of sodium, per day. If you eat a lot of fast food, your average intake is probably closer to 5,000 to 7,000 milligrams of sodium.

Let's put this in perspective. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommended a maximum daily intake of 1500 milligrams of salt, preferably closer to 1,000 milligrams, even though most other health organizations recommend 2000 to 2400 milligrams per day. Those who are at high risk for heart disease, for example, those with a family history of heart disease, those with high blood pressure, high risk populations, diabetes patients, overweight persons... should adhere to the acceptable sodium intake suggested by the National Academy of Sciences.

The UCSF investigators used the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, a computer simulation of heart disease in the U.S. adult population, to measure the impact of an immediate reduction in daily salt anywhere from 0 to 6 grams between 2010 and 2019. The model indicated that for each gram of salt reduced in processed foods, 800,000 life years could be saved.

A 6 gram reduction would result in "1.4 million fewer heart disease cases, 1.1 million fewer deaths and over 4 million life-years saved."

Do you think there is a need for regulation of processed foods? In the meantime, regulate yourself!

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