Salt: How much less should we eat for health?

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  • Author: Nancy R. Cook, Royal Statistical Society and Statistics Views
  • Date: 11 November 2013
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of Wikipedia

Each week, we select an article hot of the press and provide free access for a limited period. This week's is from Significance. We should all eat less salt – but how much less? 1500 milligrams a day has been recommended as a target – but the US Institute of Medicine caused a media storm this spring with a report that did not support this. Nancy R. Cook, a co-author of the report, explains the evidence, and the reasoning.

To read the article in full, please click on the link below.

Salt: How much less should we eat for health?: Understanding the recent IOM report
Nancy R. Cook

Significance, Vol. 10(5), pp. 6-10.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2013.00689.x

thumbnail image: Salt: How much less should we eat for health?

Cook argues that 'even if there is a clinical benefit to lowering sodium to 1500 mg/day, however, questions may reasonably be raised about the practicality of getting to such a low level, as well as the inconvenience and the willingness of the public to give up salt. Some studies show that individuals acclimate to lower levels of sodium, and foods start tasting too salty. Regardless of whether a more appropriate goal is 1500 or 2300 mg/day, though, Americans have a long way to go in lowering sodium consumption. In the public debate surrounding the role of sodium, all of the evidence must be considered, including the strengths and limitations of each study. Flawed studies lead to erroneous conclusions and misleading information. While emotions may be high on both sides of the debate, only rational judgments are in the best interest of the public.' There was a great deal of media reaction to the recent IOM report, and it is Cook's belief that this report was often misinterpreted.

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