Myth Busted? Low-Salt Diet May Hurt Your Heart, McMaster University Study

While most health agencies advocate a low-sodium diet for heart health, a controversial new study out of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Canada has found that the opposite holds true— low salt intake may not be beneficial, and might actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death when compared to those who consumed an average amount of sodium.

The study, which is published in The Lancet, recruited 133,118 people across 49 countries. After measuring the sodium in their urine to estimate how much they consume on a daily basis, they followed these people across a median time period of 4.2 years and correlated their sodium levels to major CVD events (like heart disease and stroke) and mortality rates. At the end of the study, they found that regardless of blood pressure level, lower sodium intake than the average Canadian consumes (less than 3,000 mg per day) was tied to a greater number of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths as compared to average intake (3,500 to 4,000 mg per day).

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