Take it easy on the salt! That's what we've all been told by our doctors time and time again. It's an age-old adage that represents good heart health, especially for older Americans that suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
The American Heart Association has never backpedaled on this one. In a recent warning they issued, they advised that low sodium diets are beneficial to those who suffer from heart disease. Furthermore, that excessive intake of sodium can cause serious problems, in particular to those who suffer from heart disease or hypertension.
But, in a study that was published by Senior Journal, these findings are being disputed.
The study was conducted by the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences and involved over 130,000 participants. The goal was to determine if sodium intake played a role in increased cardiovascular risk. The results determined that consuming low sodium diets was only beneficial to those who have high blood pressure, and, further, that these people shouldn't be cutting out too much salt, either.
According to Mark A. Creager, MD, president of the AHA: "The findings in this study are not valid, and you shouldn't use it to inform yourself about how you're going to eat. The large body of science clearly shows how excessive amounts of sodium in the American diet can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even death."
The AHA advises that you should not consume more than 1500mg of sodium per day. The US government advises that intake should not exceed 2300mg per day. But most people actually consume far more than that.
With this new study, there are certainly more questions that will arise about low sodium diets. But perhaps the best advice that can be offered here is that you stick to the regiment that your doctor prescribes.
Certainly, it's uplifting that new evidence is surfacing stating that it may be OK for you to consume more salt. But the tried and true standard has been to the contrary for many years. When more studies that are similar to this release conclusive results, it may be the time to consider making a change. Until then, however, it's probably better to take this new study with a grain of salt.