How Much Salt Can We Take?

July 28, 2007

imagessd.jpgThe new recommendations from the American Medical Association should be a wake up call to all of us.   We know that salt is important for the taste of our foods but taking too much can be harmful.  As physicians weve been harping on lowering salt intake to our patients when they prepare their foods not recognizing that the culprit may actually be food in the restaurant and the processed foods we buy in the groceries!

We know from studies that populations with an average sodium ingestion of less than 1400 mg/day have virtually no hypertension BUT the average intake of salt in the world is around 4000 mg per day while Filipinos usually take in more.  This is way above the recommended daily allowance of 2000 to 2300 mg per day.   

The recently published advisory in the Archives of Internal Medicine, July issue urged the Food and Drug Administration to take a look at the standards set for salt and to limit sodium in processed and restaurant foods. It is recommneded that a minimum 50% reduction in sodium in processed foods, fast-food products, and restaurant meals should be sought in the next decade it we have to decrease the risks associated with high blood pressure. More so to address the labelling of products known to contain High Salt levels.

The AMA paper has this to say: 

“Across populations, the level of blood pressure, the incremental rise in blood pressure with age, and the prevalence of hypertension are directly related to sodium intake. Observational studies and randomized controlled trials document a consistent effect of sodium consumption on blood pressure. The majority of sodium consumption in the United States is derived from amounts added during food processing and preparation. Leading scientific organizations and governmental agencies advise limiting sodium intake to 2400 mg or less daily (approximately 6000 mg of salt). Substantial public health benefits accrue from small reductions in the population blood pressure distribution. A 1.3-g/d lower lifetime sodium intake translates into an approximately 5-mm Hg smaller rise in systolic blood pressure as individuals advance from 25 to 55 years of age, a reduction estimated to save 150 000 lives annually.

With an appropriate food industry response, combined with consumer education and knowledgeable use of food labels, the average consumer should be able to choose a lower-sodium diet without inconvenience or loss of food enjoyment. In the continued absence of voluntary measures adopted by the food industry, new regulations will be required to achieve lower sodium concentrations in processed and prepared foods.”

A Pinch Of Salt For A Healthy You!

 

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2 Responses to “How Much Salt Can We Take?”


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