Are You Consuming Too Much Salt? Your Government Thinks So, But Here’s Why It’s Dangerously Wrong

Those who have been trying hard to stick to the Government’s recommended daily limit of salt intake, aren’t just being misled, the advice could be harmful as well, suggests a group of scientists.

There’s a growing dissent amongst scientists who feel, government recommendations, when it comes to salt, aren’t based on sound scientific evidence and could actually pose a health risk to those who strictly follow them. The daily limit affixed by various governments is quite conservative or as described by the scientists as “stingy.”

The U.S. federal government advises that Americans consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. So does the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Board and the Australian Heart Foundation. For African-Americans and those over 50, the guidelines recommend an even smaller amount – 1,500 milligrams per day.

In practical terms, the US Government advises you not to ingest any more than a tablespoon of salt in the entire day. No wonder then, most of us struggle to stay within the recommended limit. Governments around the world have been advising the public that they’re eating too much salt for quite some time now.

An average American consumes about 3,500 milligrams of salt per day. The U.S. government says this seemingly miniscule amount of salt is contributing to all kinds of very serious and often fatal, heart conditions.

But where does this “one teaspoon or less of salt per day” recommendation come from? Unsurprisingly, there’s little to none scientific backing to the amount of salt that is OK for us, reported The Washington Post. At best, the answers are quite vague and based on anecdotal references. Andrew Mente from McMaster University in Canada, who was involved in major 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding salt consumption, said,

“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines. So why are we still scaring people about salt?”

Perhaps the most plausible explanation that the governments can come up with, for limiting our salt intake, is in certain people, blood pressure can be lowered by simply restricting your salt intake. Because high blood pressure has been linked to cardiac disease, if you’re conservative with your salt, you’re doing something positive for your heart, argue the governments.

More Salt Is Definitely Bad, But What About Eating Too Little?

Practically speaking, demonizing common salt is beneficial for large corporations that make “healthier” alternatives to table salt. Today the isles are full of ‘low salt’ and ‘low sodium’ products that claim to nullify the ill-effects of salt even if consumed in relatively large amounts. However, there’s no modern-day scientific research that has revisited the question: How much salt is OK?

[Image Credit | Jiri Hera / Shutterstock, The Washington Post]