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More Evidence That Moderate Salt Intake May Not Be That Bad

Salt may be experiencing something of a revival in the field of nutrition. A recent study found that moderate sodium intake correlated with a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular events when compared to both high and low sodium intake. Now, another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has come to a very similar conclusion. For the new study, researchers examined data for 2,642 older adults who had filled out food questionnaires as part of a prospective cohort study that began in 1997; the participants were 61.7% white and 38.3% African-American. Here’s what the researchers discovered after tracking the participants for 10 years:

  • Overall, there was no association between dietary sodium intake and mortality, heart disease, or heart failure.
  • People consuming 1.5 to 2.3 grams of dietary sodium per day did have a slightly lower mortality risk than people consuming less than 1.5 grams per day or more than 2.3 grams per day, although the difference was not statistically significant.
  • People consuming more than 2.3 grams of dietary sodium per day had the highest mortality risk.
  • The results did not change when the researchers adjusted for sex, race, body mass index, or blood pressure status.

However, there are a few limitations to the new research. The study is observational, so it can only show a correlation, not a cause-and-effect relationship between dietary sodium intake, mortality, and cardiovascular health. In addition, the food questionnaire data were based on participant self-reporting, which may not be completely reliable. Finally, the results do not apply to anyone with preexisting heart disease or heart failure.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine

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