2010-02-18

Salt: Time to Shake the Habit


Salt: Time to Shake the Habit


A very important study was published today in the New England
Journal of Medicine (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/362/7/590)

This landmark study proves that excess salt is a killer, and a major one.
The good news is that we can now prevent major catastrophes simply
by eating less salt.

By eating less salt, about 44,000-92,000 fewer Americans would die
each year!

How much less?
The average adult male American eats 10 grams of salt (4000 mg of sodium) a day.
The average adult male American eats   7 grams of salt (2800 mg of sodium) a day.
The amount we need to drop is 3 grams of salt (1200 mg of sodium) a day.

If we dropped our intake that much, what impact would that have?
If the country dropped 3 grams of salt (1200 mg of sodium) a day
it would reduce heart disease as much as if:

  • 50% of the country stopped smoking
  • the country dropped its BMI by 5%
  • everyone went on a statin to treat high cholesterol
If the country dropped 3 grams of salt (1200 mg of sodium) a day 
it would reduce strokes even more dramatically.

The Challenge
The challenge is that most of the salt we eat is not from shakers, but from 
processed foods.  

The Solution
To drop about 1/3 of all your salt intake, and save some lives
we need to:
  1. Read the labels on foods that we purchase- don't buy items with high salt.
  2. Aim for eating no more than 2000mg of sodium a day.
  3. Get rid of salt shakers in the home.
BOTTOM LINE:
Salt now is proven to cause thousands upon thousands of strokes, heart attacks,
and deaths.  It now ranks with tobacco and obesity as one of the top problems
we can do something about, a problem solved that could save yours and many
other lives.
So let's eat less salt and live longer.

Dr. Arthur Lavin





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