Along with cholesterol and fats, salt has been demonized for decades, but really, how bad is it?
Scientists are questioning “low sodium” and “low salt,” and say the typical American diet that includes the consumption of salt is without risk. In fact, according to a published report, the government-recommended low levels of salt could potentially be harmful to your health.
Doctors have told us if you eat too much salt, the body retains more water to reduce sodium concentration, leading to an increased blood volume, which makes your heart work harder to move blood through your body, and thus your blood pressure rises. So if we eat too much salt we are endangering our cardiovascular health. Everyone agrees on this point but how much is too much?
Salt is one of those dogmas, incomplete deduction-based chemical and metabolic studies, and simplifications for which the evidence has been weak according to Susan McGalla.
Sodium occurs naturally in food. Most people do not need to add much salt to the diet in order to receive an adequate daily supply.
The American Heart Association says the average American consumes 3,436 milligrams of sodium a day, more than double the recommended amount.
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2010 recommended a sodium intake of less than 1,500 milligrams a day for the general population. This is below the recommended 2,300 milligrams in 2005.
Skeptics say Americans can handle as much as 6,000 milligrams per day without risking health, and that lowering salt intake can hamper your health.
One thing is for sure – no one agrees on the numbers and salt remains the black sheep of the dietary family.