New American Journal of Hypertension study shows LOW-salt diets increase cholesterol, triglycerides, other risk factors

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The Salt Institute asks federal agencies to reverse their anti-salt agenda to protect the American public from the well-documented risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease that comes with the government's dangerous LOW-salt diet.

After reading this new, in-depth medical study, our federal government should tell Americans, `Warning: LOW-sodium diets are hazardous to your health.'

-- Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute

A meta-analysis published today (Nov. 9) in the American Journal of Hypertension confirms what the Salt Institute has been warning for years:

-- Low-sodium diets trigger a negative chain reaction in the body that increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

--Contrary to the conventional wisdom of federal agencies overseeing nutrition and health, sodium has only a “small effect” on blood pressure.

“After reading this new, in-depth medical study, our federal government should tell Americans, `Warning: LOW-sodium diets are hazardous to your health,’ ” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. “Unfortunately, unelected bureaucrats with an anti-salt bias show no signs of slowing their agenda to put virtually every American on a dangerous low-salt diet.”

Signaling their intent to crack down on salt, these agencies have called a Thursday (Nov. 10) public hearing and have requested online comments from Americans by Nov. 29, all under the foreboding title “Approaches to Reducing Sodium Consumption.”

The “Salt Guru,” Morton Satin, has created a new video explaining what’s at stake while a social media campaign on Salt Health Facebook shows how salt lovers and public health advocates can make an official online comment to a government agency in less than 5 minutes.

Although blood pressure reduction may be beneficial to a limited number of individuals, the Salt Institute has long maintained that population-wide salt reduction may be the worst strategy to accomplish this because of the cascade of negative side effects that result. This was confirmed today by the publication in the American Journal of Hypertension, which published a peer-reviewed study on the impact of low-salt versus high-salt diets on health.

In an update of the Cochrane Systematic Review of 167 clinical studies, the authors from the Copenhagen and Bispebjerg University Hospitals in Denmark concluded that dramatic salt reductions achieved only a slight reduction of 3.5 mmHg in mean blood pressure for individuals with hypertension, and not more than 1 mmHg in people without hypertension.

The researchers took the study a step further by looking at the other impacts that occur whenever individuals are placed on a low-salt diets (defined as 1,600 mg sodium per day - a level that is consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans).

Individuals placed on a low-salt diet had a significant increase in plasma renin, plasma aldosterone, plasma adrenaline, and plasma noradrenaline levels - all risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In addition, those placed on the low-salt diets developed significantly increased cholesterol, particularly the low-density cholesterol and large increases in triglycerides, both of which increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.

The authors pointed out that the body's physiological mechanisms (renin, aldosterone) immediately kick in to retain salt the instant the body detects lower than required salt intakes. That is very likely the reason why such enormous salt reductions have demonstrated such a small effect on reducing blood pressure.

"For years we have cautioned that population-wide salt production is a Trojan Horse of public health policy,” said Satin, the Salt Institute's Vice President of Science and Research. “On the surface, you may see a minor drop in blood pressure for people with hypertension, but hidden below the surface are a whole host of serious risks.

"Trading a minor reduction in one risk factor for a torrent of other serious risk factors is an imbecile's bargain. Population-wide salt reduction is proving to be one of the biggest deceptions in modern public health."

ABOUT THE SALT INSTITUTE: Based in Alexandria, VA, the Salt Institute is a trade association promoting responsible salt use for nutrition, roadway safety, and water quality.

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