Eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase risk of death

July 11, 2011 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase risk of death
New study findings from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are reporting that eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase the risk of death.

The findings come just a week after another study, published in The Cochrane Library, found no evidence that moderate cuts to salt intake reduce the risk of developing heart disease or dying prematurely.

In the latest study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at the long-term effects of sodium and potassium intake as part of a 15-year study of more than 12,000 people.

By the end of the study period, 2,270 of the study participants had died; 825 of these deaths were from heart disease and 433 were from blood clots and strokes.

Researches found that people who had a high salt intake and a low potassium intake were most at risk of death.

In fact, researchers said people who ate a diet high in sodium and low in potassium had a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and about twice the risk of death from a heart attack.

These latest findings support the general weight of evidence thus far and suggest that higher doses of sodium are linked with poor health consequences.  The findings add to the debate on the health effects of too much sodium in the diet.

Currently, Canadian guidelines recommend adults consume less than 2.3 grams (2300 milligrams) of sodium daily, or 1.5 grams (1500 milligrams) for people at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease.  According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, on average Canadians consume about 3,500 mg (roughly 1 ½ tsp) of sodium per day - far more than the recommended intake.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.