According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts and patients across the heart healthcare community are rethinking their stances on salt intake. While it has been widely held for some time now that high levels of sodium in an individual's diet may pose a higher risk of heart disease, the study seems to suggest that the current dietary recommendations for sodium intake are actually endangering heart health.
Dietary guidelines in America are established by several different entities collaboratively; among these agencies are the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association. Currently, standard dietary recommendations in America dictate that people should consume between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. While this behavior is certainly not emulated in the typical American diet (the average American consumes nearly 3,400 milligrams daily), previous nutrition suggestions may actually be the cause of the nation’s current heightened risk for heart disease.
The aforementioned study followed more than 100,000 individuals for a period exceeding three years, examining dietary behavior across 17 different countries. Ultimately, the experiment found that individuals who consumed less than 3,000 milligrams of sodium daily (as American dietary restrictions suggest) had a 27 percent increase in their risk of stroke, heart attack or death during that span.
The study is not the first of its kind by any means. In 2013, the Institute of Medicine reported to Congress that they couldn't find any evidence supporting the notion that sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams had a reducing effect on heart disease.
While the American Heart Association has indicated that they remain confident in their prior assertions regarding the benefits of low sodium diets, the FDA has made clear that they will review the studies carefully, potentially initiating more trials. Until then, it may be worth the time of heart disease sufferers to consult the opinion of their physician regarding sodium intake.