A Salt & Battery

Reduction in Salt Consumption Recommended; Dangers of Salt Highlighted

Salt does worse things than make you feel chubby (and we aren't referring to the movie with Angelina Jolie). Since it's not caloric, salt may not be on your nutrition radar screen--but it should be. Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a health advisory against salt, due to the increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack that's associated with high sodium intake.

The AHA is also encouraging the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to reduce their current sodium intake limit guidelines from 2,300 mg per day down to 1,500 mg per day. This is a real bummer for us lovers of pretzels and chips.

Currently, the average American consumes over 3,000 mg of salt per day, with 77% of the sodium coming from processed fast foods and restaurant foods. That's probably not a surprise to anyone who's left a McDonalds hamburger out for a week and dared it to start decomposing. AHA is also working to improve food labeling so people can be aware of how much sodium is in the foods they eat.

The AHA recommendation comes after a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that a majority of Americans either have or are at a high risk for developing high blood pressure.

And there's more bad news for salt (aside from it tanking at the box office...ok, ok we're done): In a recent study, scientists found that people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium per day have more than twice the risk of having a stroke compared to people who consumed less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

A reduction in salt will do more than help your health; one day it could help your wallet too. A recent healthcare study cited in the AHA advisory claimed that a reduction of sodium by 1,200 mg per day could reduce the health costs related to heart disease and potentially lower national health care costs by $24 billion dollars per year.

Yeah, nobody likes bland food except for maybe old people. But, if you don't relax on that saltshaker, you may never get to be old. And who wants to miss out on Bingo, discounts and Florida?


American Heart Association (2011, January 14). Population-wide reduction in salt consumption recommended. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113213131.htm


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