According to a new study, a low-salt diet may actually be bad for your heart.
It seems like there is a new study every day that counters what we thought we already knew about diet, health, and fitness. The latest research published in the medical journal The Lancet is certainly no exception. However, the study is not without controversy, with many medical experts taking issue with the findings.
The study concluded that dietary restrictions of salt seemed to only benefit patients who had already experienced high blood pressure and that low-salt diets might actually boost the risk of heart disease and heart-related illness in the future.
The study took place at McMaster University in Canada, where researchers looked at the health records of more than 130,000 people in 49 countries. Specifically, they were looking for correlations in stroke, heart disease, and deaths among people with both normal and high blood pressure. Ultimately, they found that all three conditions were highly occurring in those on a low-salt diet rather than those on an average-salt diet.
Subjects were grouped based on the amount of sodium that they consumed on a daily basis using classifications of low, medium, and high. Those with an average or moderate level of salt intake were actually found to be at the lowest risk of developing or suffering from circulatory issues.
Researchers measured sodium levels in the body by collecting urine samples in the morning and extrapolating daylong levels of excretion, and this is where many of the critics start pointing out possible problems with the study. Many believe that the mathematical methods used to do this were simply inadequate for this type of study.
When asked about his thoughts on the study, researcher Andrew Mente, a clinical epidemiologist at McMaster University, stated: “While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels. Our findings are important because they show that lowering sodium is best targeted at those with hypertension who also consume high sodium diets.”
What does this mean for you?
First of all, it is never a good idea to change your diet or fitness plan based on a single study or without the advice of a doctor. If you are on a low-salt diet, there is probably a good reason for it, so you should not start eating lots of sodium any time soon.