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Salt consumption: New study is no excuse to overuse the shaker

May 04, 2011|By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
  • A new study suggests not everyone needs to cut down on sodium. But U.S. health experts say salt reduction is still a good idea, especially if you're at risk for high blood pressure.
A new study suggests not everyone needs to cut down on sodium. But U.S. health… (Paul Goyette / Wikimedia…)

Salt is bad for us; no, it's not; yes, it is. Many Americans probably thought this debate had been put to rest. A new study suggests this isn't the case. 

That study, which found that low salt consumption was linked to a higher rate of cardiovascular disease and deaths, has cast new light on the skeptics of the "eat less salt" mantra.

Many health experts were quick to say that the new research was flawed, in part because it only sampled a small number of adults, and young white adults at that. This L.A. Times story explains the findings. 

But the controversy raises the question of just who benefits most from reducing their salt consumption.

Health experts say reducing salt may be more beneficial for those at greater risk for high blood pressure than for others. Those include African Americans, men older than 45, women over 55 and overweight or obese people.

So for these people, at least, reducing salt consumption seems like a safe bet. And for them -- and pretty much everyone else, actually -- the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers this primer. Yes, we'll bring it up again -- it's "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH."

Don't use the latest salt study as an excuse to pour it on, especially if you have high blood pressure.

healthkey@tribune.com

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