In a new study published in the online edition of the British Medical Journal, researchers write that a 50 percent reduction in daily salt intake “could prevent approximately 100,000 deaths from heart attack and stroke in the United States every year.”
Curbing salt intake by that high a margin is certainly a mean feat — but not because Americans are saturating their food with sodium. Rather, study authors suggest that the real culprits are food makers who douse their products with harmful levels of salt.
Results from the controlled study — which measured the blood pressures of 3,000 adults who dramatically curbed their salt intake over the course of a month — indicated an average five point drop in systolic blood pressure, confirming similar findings previously published in the Journal. Last month, Harvard researchers conducting a separate study also found that excess sodium was linked to one in ten American deaths.
Since high blood pressure is the number one risk factor associated with heart disease and stroke, the findings suggest that U.S. public health would benefit substantially from lower salt consumption.
TVNL Comment: Read the labels, folks. The sodium content is right there. Recommended daily intake is no more than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.