90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Studies: Low-Salt Diet May Be Harmful

Salt shaker (Wen Zhang/Flickr)

Three new studies challenge the low salt intake levels recommended by groups like the American Heart Association. (Wen Zhang/Flickr)

A set of three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that people who consumed less than 3,000 milligrams of salt per day were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and more likely to die, than people who consumed between 3,000 and 6,000 milligrams per day.

Average U.S. daily salt intake is about 3,400 milligrams, but groups from the World Health Organization to the American Heart Association recommend significantly lower daily consumption.

These new studies challenge those low recommendations, and they come on top last year’s report from the Institute of Medicine, which said there was little evidence that cutting salt consumption aggressively — to below 2,300 milligrams — reduced the risk of strokes or heart attacks.

The American Heart Association has a series of objections to the new study: That it is observational, it does not show cause and effect, it does not rule out other factors and that the methods used to measure sodium levels are questionable.

And adding to the debate is another study, also published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, which relied on modeling and concluded that worldwide, 1.6 million deaths were linked to salt intake of above 2,000 milligrams per day.

Dr. Suzanne Oparil wrote the accompanying editorial to the studies, and talks to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she’s a professor of medicine.

Read The Full Studies:

Guest

  • Suzanne Oparil, M.D., distinguished professor of medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 3 3 Comments

Burying Grief In Training A Goshawk

In her award-winning book "H Is for Hawk," Helen Macdonald tells the story of training a vicious predator after her father's death.

March 3 11 Comments

The End Of The Lunch Hour

Studies show that only one in five people actually take a break and leave their desks to eat.

March 2 13 Comments

The Beanie Baby Boom And Bust – What Happened?

Zac Bissonnette drew on hundreds of interviews to write a book about "mass delusion and the dark side of cute."

March 2 5 Comments

Russian Opposition MP Reacts To Nemtsov Killing

The sole member of the Russian parliament to vote against the annexation of Crimea discusses the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.