Revisit Salt Intake to Stay Fit

Salt- An essential ingredient

Potential Impact of Revisiting Salt Intake

Why should we consider to revisit salt intake? For instance, little pile of white salt crystals on teaspoon doesn’t seem to be much quantity apparently. But continual efforts to increase awareness about potential risks associated with salt consumption led to explore effects of reduced salt consumption. In addition, only 25% reduction led to attainment of following advantages: strokes reduction by 22%, heart attacks 16%, with an estimated saving of 17,000 lives [5,6]. Similarly, eventually the goal of salt awareness programs globally is to reach daily salt intake of half a teaspoon (< 3000 mg) by the end of 2025 [7].

Revisit Salt Intake-Current Research Insights

“Eating Less Salt”

In addition, rcently, American Heart Association (AHA) has revisited the salt intake guidelines and reiterated the advice of “Eating Less Salt” that we have been told for several years from health professionals and nutritionists. AHA now had come up with new guidelines of salt intake of little more than half teaspoon (1,500 mg) on per day basis and declared that most of USA citizens are consuming excessively higher and hampering levels of sodium without any realization about this. As per AHA findings, daily sodium intake is almost 50% higher on an average in US adults.

Hypertension and Salt Intake

Above all, growing number of published reports have ascertained scientific link of excessive salt consumption with hypertension (blood pressure) which has been regarded as the silent killer worldwide and only in US, more than 75 million people are being affected [8,9]. Therefore, we should revisit out daily salt intake. A recently published study in Hypertension Research Journal has reported on association of excreted sodium with elevated blood pressure.

Worldwide Initiatives

In addition, various regulatory bodies, such as World Health Organization (WHO), European Society of Hypertension, the American Heart Association and Japanese Society of Hypertension have recommended reduction in sodium intake and endorsed the efficacy of sodium reduction in prevention of CVDs in high sodium-consuming societies. CVDs have been declared as leading death cause worldwide, and according to WHO, 32% of total deaths were recorded due to CVDs in 2017. [4,10,11]. Hence, it is necessary to revisit daily salt dietary intake.

Regulatory Guidelines

In other words, as per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, American adults consumes on an average 3,300 mg of sodium per day which is still above the standard recommended level. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stressed to limit salt intake below 2,300 mg level on per day basis [12], however, AHA has adopted stricter viewpoint and restricted to consume less than 1,500 g sodium/day in order to ensure maintenance of general health and prevention of lifestyle related disorders [13]. Therefore, in order to stay fit, we should focus our attention to revisit daily salt intake in processed, home-made and minimally processed foods.

Consumption Patterns

For instance, among consumed diets, Paleothilic diets have been reported to exhibit low salt consumption corresponding to an estimated amount of 768 mg of daily sodium consumption. hence, it suggests to revisit our dietary salt intake in day-to-day life. Moreover, low and inland-hunter gatherers had regularly consumed no or negligible amount of salts in their dietary patterns. Hence, it is generally accepted notion that diets of hunter-gatherers did not cause any lifestyle related, metabolic and chronic disorders which are prevalent worldwide in current era [14]. Moreover,

Updated WHO Salt Guidelines

In addition, WHO recommends sodium reduction up to < 2,000 mg/day (corresponds to salt consumption of 5 g/day). Naturally, our bodies need sodium in very low amount (<500 mg/day) but our average consumption is extremely high, e.g. US citizens are consuming more than 3,200 mg sodium on daily basis [2]. Hence, this leads to pondering and spontaneous question generation in minds that could salt addition in minimum amount to daily diets of our distant ancestors possibly mean that salt addition to our foodstuffs is really leading to harmful implications? Is it mandatory to comply with the AHA guidelines about sodium intake of 1,500 mg or less on daily basis? Moreover, is there any possibility of existence of salt consumption range that in spite of supporting our health also leads to optimization of health?

Revisiting Salt Intake in Consumer Patterns

As specified by AHA, more than 70% of salt intake originates from three primary sources: 1) prepackaged, 2) processed and 3) restaurant foods. It is evident from daily observations that intended salt consumers are dependent on food manufacturing companies (FMCs) and restaurants because decisions regarding salt addition in our diets are taken by these two stakeholders and therefore, it’s time for the intended consumers to get back control of informed choices and salt preferences [13].

Getting Back Control of Salt Intake

Above all, AHA has come up with new notion by saying this, “Now is the time to break up our nation’s love affair with salt to improve public health”. So, in order to break this love affair, AHA has updated their guidelines to enable consumers to get back control of salts added in foodstuffs and here are two simple steps to be taken [9]:

  1. In addition, consumers should be selective regarding salty preference in majority of salt-added foods, such as cured meats, pizza, breads and rolls, soups, burritos, chicken, tacos and cold cuts. Consumers have been instructed to check labels carefully and focus on replacement of meats and cheeses with veggies and fruits whenever possible.
  2. However, no need to sacrifice taste. Sodium usually mask the food flavors and medium-flame cooking or cooking in pressure cooker to prepare delicious recipes may lead to taste maximization.

In addition, salt reduction can be further cut back by visiting link of New Sodium Recommendation of American Heart Association:

Revisit salt intake by reducing salt in processed foods
Revisiting salt intake in combination with other sources of sodium
Source: Pixabay (Pixabay License: Free for commercial use, No attribution required)

Need to be Considerate about Salt

After that, why should we be so considerate about salt? It is an inorganic naturally occurring mineral. Despite of so much bad reputation, it is essentially required by our body to replenish depleted reservoirs of sodium and chlorine as it’s impossible to live without it and our bodies cannot synthesize this on its own. It is involved in various physiological functions in our body, such as muscle movement, nerve impulse transmission, and equilibrium maintenance of body fluids.

Yanomami People- Case Study

For instance, a recent report published by Harvard Medical School has reported on salt consumption pattern of Yanomami People of Amazon Rain-forest who consume about one tenth of a teaspoon of salt on daily basis. Whereas, on the other hand, some intended consumers in Northern Japan have been reported to consume about 11 teaspoons [15].

Action on Salt!

Therefore, now question arises in minds that where the fault line exists? Main issue is that highly salty diets can lead to onset of high blood pressure (hypertension) and consequently high blood pressure may increase the chances of getting arteriosclerosis (heart disease) and stroke [4].

In addition, Professor Graham MacGregor, currently chairing Action on Salt, has laid emphasis on salt reduction and declared high blood pressure as the most leading cause of stroke and arteriosclerosis. He also staunchly advocated about need of salt reduction and regarded it as the biggest change to reduce onset of both stroke and arteriosclerosis. According to him, “overwhelming evidence is coming from the scientific community in favor of this proposition” [16].

Similarly, health fact-sheet and other useful resources can be found on following link:

Furthermore, watch the video below to have summarized view of whole article.

Safe Salt dietary intake to be healthy

How to Convince People to Consume Less Salt?

Moreover, according to Action on Salt, following steps could be taken to change dietary patterns towards low salt consumption [16].

  1. Above all, the best approach is to work in coordination of FMCs and stakeholders of food industry to decrease the employed salt amounts in prepackaged and processed foods. Almost 70-80% of salt is found in various processed foods, such as sauces, soups, Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meals as well as cured meat, cereals, bread and cheeses.
  2. In addition, Advertisement regimes of food manufacturers should focus on people convincing that “FMC are doing something for the masses instead of persuading them to do something” According to Action on Salt, amount of salt has been reduced up to almost 30% in manufacturing of popular foodstuffs by food industry since 2005.

However, Consumers awareness about low-salt foods is also low and majority of consumers have no realization that even their favorite brand of potato chips or crisps now contains lower amounts of salt. Furthermore, awareness campaigns don’t cost much on Governments’ and food industries’ parts and are very effective in lowering risk factors of heart diseases and stroke by informing public to decrease excessive salt intake to protect their health [7].

Bottomline

In conclusion, continual research is in progress in various regions of the world to determine optimum levels of sodium intake, however, reduction strategy of sodium intake from table salt would be a preferable way to mitigate issues associated with high salt-intake in intended consumers who used to carry out seasoning of foodstuffs with salt.

Moreover, economic burdens are on verge of rise on Governments ‘part globally owing to ravages of cardiovascular morbidity and hypertension. On the other hand, historical co-existence of human beings with other species in salt-free environment has provided the substantial evidence of human’s natural requirement of low-salts diets in profound compatibility with normal human physiology.

Disclaimer

This website provides information about natural foods and their potential health benefits to improve overall human wellness. The content provided in this platform or linked to this blog could not be considered as an alternative to an advice of professional medical practitioners. You should consult your health care provider in case of disease incidences and severe emergencies.

References

[1] Frisoli TM, Schmieder RE, Grodzicki T, Messerli FH. Salt and hypertension: Is salt dietary reduction worth the effort? Am J Med 2012. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.10.023.

[2] Farquhar WB, Edwards DG, Jurkovitz CT, Weintraub WS. Dietary Sodium and Health. J Am Coll Cardiol 2015;65:1042–50. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.12.039.

[3] WHO. WHO | Reducing sodium intake to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases in adults. World Health Organization; 2017.

[4] Nakamura K, Miyoshi T. The optimal amount of salt intake. Hypertens Res 2019;42:752–3. doi:10.1038/s41440-019-0225-7.

[5] He FJ, Li J, MacGregor GA. Effect of longer-term modest salt reduction on blood pressure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004937.pub2.

[6] Graudal NA, Hubeck-Graudal T, Jurgens G. Effects of low sodium diet versus high sodium diet on blood pressure, renin, aldosterone, catecholamines, cholesterol, and triglyceride. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2017. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004022.pub4.

[7] UK I. Salt Awareness Week 2019: Is it really as bad as we’re led to believe? | The Independent 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/salt-awareness-week-health-max-amount-men-women-diet-sugar-a8810106.html (accessed May 2, 2019).

[8] American Heart Association. Sodium sources: Where does all that sodium come from? | American Heart Association 2018. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/sodium-sources (accessed May 2, 2019).

[9] American Heart Association. How much sodium should I eat per day? | American Heart Association 2019. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day (accessed May 2, 2019).

[10] Williams B, Mancia G, Spiering W, Agabiti Rosei E, Azizi M, Burnier M, et al. 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. Eur Heart J 2018;39:3021–104. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehy339.

[11] Whelton PK, Carey RM, Aronow WS, Casey DE, Collins KJ, Dennison Himmelfarb C, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension 2018;71:1269–324. doi:10.1161/HYP.0000000000000066.

[12] Cogswell ME, Mugavero K, Bowman BA, Frieden TR. Dietary Sodium and Cardiovascular Disease Risk — Measurement Matters. N Engl J Med 2016;375:580–6. doi:10.1056/NEJMsb1607161.

[13] American Heart Assosiation. Why Should I Limit Sodium? Am Hear Assos 2017.

[14] Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:341–54. doi:10.1093/ajcn.81.2.341.

[15] Mancilha-Carvalho J de J, Souza e Silva NA. The Yanomami Indians in the INTERSALT Study. Arq Bras Cardiol 2003;80:289–300. doi:10.1590/S0066-782X2003000300005.

[16] Action on Salt. Health factsheets – Action on Salt 2019. http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/resources/factsheets/ (accessed May 2, 2019).

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1 Comment

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