Country-wide sodium reduction could be harmful

(BPT) – The Federal Government’s push for reduced sodium in American foods will likely affect your favorite foods within the next few months. Food manufacturers will be pushed to change their recipes, which will change the taste and texture of many foods made in the U.S.

Government officials have indicated that they will be announcing a ‘voluntary’ sodium reduction scheme as early as this summer, although the voluntary aspect of it may be lost on the millions of Americans whose favorite foods will be changing without their consent.

The government’s plan has become contentious with medical researchers who increasingly are presenting scientific evidence that population-wide sodium reduction is unnecessary and/or potentially harmful.

The latest evidence, including a 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrates that there is a safe ‘range’ of salt consumption that results in a lower risk to the overall population. According to this research, the lower end of this safe range begins around 3,000 mg and extends up to 6,000 mg sodium. Americans consume about 3,400 mg sodium on average – at the lower end of this safe range. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend a level of 2300 mg a day, a number below the safe range.

Dr. Michael Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and former president of the American Society of Hypertension, has repeatedly cited his concern that a population-wide sodium reduction campaign could have unintended consequences. “They want to do an experiment on a whole population without a good control,” Alderman says.

For decades, Americans have also been told that they need to drastically reduce their salt intake. However, a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association states low-salt diets can lead to insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular events, iodine deficiency, loss of cognition, low birth weights, and higher rates of death.

Most recently a study from McMaster University and published in medical journal ‘The Lancet,’ found that low-salt diets are harmful. The researchers conducted a worldwide study in dozens of countries with more than 100,000 participants and found that a low-salt diet for most people increased the risk of heart disease and death. The only question that remains is, is our government listening?