Alexandria, VA— The current average levels of salt consumption are well within the healthy range according to a comprehensive review of all the available research on sodium intake and health outcomes. This review, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, identified the ideal range for optimum health and concluded, “This robust body of evidence does not support universal reduction of sodium intake.”
The authors, Dr. Michael Alderman and Dr. Hillel Cohen, examined 23 observational studies covering some 360,000 individuals and found at the very low and very high levels of salt consumption there was a negative effect on health, but in between those extremes there was a very broad safe range of salt consumption that resulted in optimum health.
Their analysis indicated that this broad, safe range went from 5 g (a bit less than a teaspoon) all the way to 15.6 g (a little more than 2 1/2 teaspoons) of salt. Any level of consumption less than a teaspoon or more than 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt would place consumers at a greater overall risk of poor health outcomes. Currently, Americans consume approximately 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, placing them right in the middle of this safe range of consumption.
This study refutes the recommendations of the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines which call for one half the population to consume less than 1 teaspoon of salt and the remaining half to consume even less, down to 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt. According to this study, these levels of consumption would increase the risk to consumers.
“The debate on the right amount of salt people should eat is over. It’s time we base our nutritional recommendations on the actual evidence rather than outdated opinion,” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. “Our Dietary Guidelines are totally out of touch with the latest science. If we don’t correct them, Americans will suffer.”
The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.