A controversial new study claims that salt might not be as bad for you as you think
Salt, so often the life of the food party, is finally getting some good health PR.
A controversial new study makes the bold claim that the substance is not quite as damaging as previously believed.
The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, argues against campaigns designed to persuade people to cut down, noting that said approach may only be useful in countries with particularly high sodium consumption.
Though commonly mistaken for being the same thing, salt and sodium are not quite identical.
Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods or is later added during manufacturing. It is estimated that over 75% of the sodium that human beings consume comes from processed foods.
Your common table salt, by contrast, is a combination of sodium and chloride, roughing shaking out to a 60/40 chloride/sodium split.
The study begins by highlighting the World Health Organisation's recommendation that people consume less than 2g of sodium per day as a preventative measure against cardiovascular disease, but notes that this target has yet to be achieved in any country.
The Canadian academics behind the research point to China as an example of especially high salt intake, contrasting that with the UK where intake has fallen from 12g per day on average to around 7 to 8g over the past 30 years.
China, where an average of 12g of sodium is reportedly consumed per person per day, was cited as a hotbed of damaging related effects including high blood pressure and instances of strokes.
However, researchers found that very low levels of salt actually resulted in more heart attacks and deaths, positing that a moderate level of salt intake might achieve a protective balance.
Over 90,000 people in 18 countries were surveyed for the comprehensive study, but it has since attracted controversy.
Scientists who have been fighting hard to reduce salt consumption to as little as possible have slammed the findings.
A previous study conducted by the same team a decade ago was similarly blasted, with its findings rejected by the American Heart Association.