Salt Institute Disputes AHA Unrealistic Salt Statistic

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“Mozaffarian study disrespectful of consumers,” says Salt Institute

The Salt Institute considers this misleading modeling exercise and resulting recommendation to be an embarrassment to the American Heart Association. - Lori Roman, President of the Salt Institute

A recent attention-grabbing paper presented at the American Heart Association conference made the sensational claim that one in 10 Americans dies from eating too much salt. But according to Morton Satin, Vice President of Science and Research for the Salt Institute, “This misleading study did not measure any actual cardiovascular deaths related to salt intake, they simply made projections using a highly flawed statistical model. Even more shocking, the Mozaffarian, et al, paper advised a sodium intake level of 1,000 mg per day, an amount so low that it would put people in the low-salt danger zone, potentially leading to increased heart attacks, diabetes and early death.”

Multiple peer-reviewed studies (see references below) published to date demonstrate that when sodium intakes fall below 3,400 mg/day a rapid rise in plasma renin and aldosterone occurs and may result in insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, increased mortality from congestive heart failure and types I and II diabetes, more frequent cardiovascular events, cognition loss , stress, dehydration, and overall increased morbidity and mortality. Yet the authors excluded excluded these studies showing the health risks specifically related to low salt intake. “Salt reduction only slightly benefits a small number of hypersensitive individuals, who are better served with medication, while salt reduction could bring harm to the overall population according to 10 years of peer-reviewed research,” added Satin.

The fact is that international demographic figures on life expectancy reveal that those countries which consume the lowest salt intake have the shortest life expectancies while those with the highest salt diets, including the Mediterranean and Japanese diets, are considered to be the most heart-healthy. According to Satin, “The AHA is insisting that people cut their salt intake by 75 percent, an impossibly low figure that even the authors of this study admit no country anywhere in the world comes close to meeting.”

Several research studies have repeatedly shown that Americans already eat the right amount of sodium, about 3,500 mg However the US Federal Dietary Guidelines recommend a maximum of 2,300 mg for healthy adults and 1,500 mg for at risk groups and the hypersensitive. The authors of the study are calling for a 1,000 mg sodium diet as "optimal." Both these recommendation put citizens well into the low-salt danger zone.

“The Mozaffarian study appears to be part of an agenda driven exercise far more rooted in sensationalist politics than in science and it deliberately ignores real scientific research to the great detriment of the health of the American consumer. The Salt Institute considers this misleading modeling exercise and resulting recommendation to be an embarrassment to the American Heart Association,” said Lori Roman, President of the Salt Institute.


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The Salt Institute is a North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the many benefits of salt, particularly to ensure winter roadway safety, quality water and healthy nutrition.

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