Entries in Salt Intake (3)


American Heart Association Stands Firm on Daily Salt Intake Recommendation

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There is some disagreement among experts about how much salt is too much. Now the American Heart Association has weighed in with the latest opinion.

Even when we're not shaking salt on to our meals, we are still consuming it from all kinds of foods. In fact, most of the sodium in the typical American diet comes from processed and prepared foods.
While there is wide agreement that Americans consume too much salt, and that it contributes to high blood pressure and other problems, there have been recent calls to increase the recommended daily salt allowance for healthy people.
After a broad review of the data, the AHA is standing firm in its guidelines. They say the evidence is strong to restrict salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day -- even in healthy people. That's less than one teaspoon of table salt.

The group says lowering salt intake has multiple health effects, notably decreasing cardiovascular and kidney disease. They state some of the recent calls for higher salt allowances are "based on flawed analyses of data from observational studies that were not planned to study sodium relationships, with great potential to yield misleading results, and on misinterpretation of clinical trial results."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Too Much Salt, Too Little Exercise Bad for Brain

Comstock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Too much salt and too little exercise is hard on the heart, but new research suggests it can be hard on the brain, too.

A three-year study of more than 1,200 people has linked a salty diet and sedentary lifestyle to cognitive decline in old age.

"It's important for people to know there are things you can do to help protect your brains as you're aging," said study author Carol Greenwood, a nutrition scientist and interim director of the Baycrest Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research in Toronto.  "You do have some control, and lifestyle is key."

Using data from the Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging, a study of people between the ages of 67 and 84, Greenwood and colleagues found that men and women with the highest daily sodium intake and the lowest level of exercise performed poorer over time on cognitive tests than those with low sodium intake and an active lifestyle.  The findings held up even when the researchers controlled for such factors as education, waist circumference, diabetes and overall diet.

"This is the first study to extend the benefits of low sodium intake to brain health in healthy older adults," the authors wrote in their report published in the Neurobiology of Aging.

The study adds to mounting evidence that too much salt can have serious health consequences.

"The reality is that excess sodium affects not only blood pressure but bone health, and probably cardiac health overall," said Dr. David Katz, director of Medical Studies in Public Health at Yale University.  "And further, it tends to be a marker of an overly processed diet that is itself harmful in a variety of ways."

Replacing processed foods that are naturally high in salt with natural foods such as fruits and vegetables is an easy way to lower salt intake.

Although cutting down on salt is a safe move, staying fit might be the more important factor when it comes to protecting cognition with age.

"People who were physically active were protected, regardless of their sodium intake," said Greenwood.  "What's important is maintaining the integrity of the cardiovascular system, and the benefits of exercise are going to outweigh any negative effects we see with salt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Surprisingly Salty Foods: Simple Ways to Cut Sodium Intake

Thinkstock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Subway, the world's biggest fast food chain, has announced plans to cut sodium levels in its subs by 28 percent. This change comes amid growing concern that many Americans are exceeding their daily salt intake.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 dietary guidelines recommends that Americans consume no more than 1,500 milligrams -- or about two-thirds of a teaspoon -- of salt each day. However, Americans actually consume more than 3,000 milligrams a day, which adds up to about 517 teaspoons of table salt a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is a list of desserts surprisingly high in salt (per 100 milligram serving):

  • Caramel - 236mg
  • Chocolate bar with nuts - 210mg
  • Milk chocolate - 71mg
  • Lollipop - 50 mg

While it may seem difficult to avoid salty foods, there are a few ways to limit your salt intake. One way to cut the salt is to use table salt substitutes.

Other ways to cut the salt in your diet include buying fresh foods instead of canned and processed foods, or to rinse canned foods to remove the salt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio