If you’ve ever been told you have high blood pressure, you’ve probably been instructed to cut back on salt, but is cutting the salt out of your diet a wise choice?
A recent study out of McMaster University shows that low-sodium diets may be detrimental to your health, and even increase your risk of heart disease.
With the rise of heart disease and high blood pressure, more and more people are cutting back on salty foods. It seems to be a logical step to help improve cardiovascular health. If high-sodium intake results in higher blood pressure, and high blood pressure results in heart disease, then why not cut the salt out of your diet?
Well, this new study has found that cutting right back on sodium could be far more harmful. That’s because the health community has made some bad assumptions about salt, and you know what happens when you assume.
In a recent CBC article, Low-sodium diets not always worth their salt, McMaster study finds, the lead author of the study, Andrew Mente, said:
“Given that lower sodium is related to lower blood pressure, they assume that that’s going to translate into lower cardiovascular disease,” he said, speaking of past researchers. “It turns out these assumptions are wrong.”
Mente said over the past five years, numerous studies have revealed the dangers of low-sodium diets. This newest study at McMaster just confirms what the latest research has shown, he said.
Sodium is a necessary dietary nutrient. The body needs sodium to regulate blood pressure, osmosis equilibrium, blood volume, and pH levels. Problems arise when you have too much salt, or if you don’t have enough.
One of the reasons having too much sodium in your diet can be a problem, is because much of today’s society is getting their salt intake from processed foods.
He stressed that the currently recommended sodium intake is too low for the general public, and that it doesn’t reflect the scientific findings.
So how much sodium do we actually need? Well, according to Andrew Mente, as long as you’re exercising, cutting our processed foods, eating good vegetables, and not smoking, then you won’t have to think about sodium levels.
Like with any other nutrient, we need sodium, but we need to get our sodium intake from good sources. Processed foods will never be a healthy source of any nutrient.