Make America Healthy Again - Sign the Petition for Evidence-Based Dietary Guidelines!Get the Details

A look at the disputed science on salt: is lower always better?

Congressman Andy Harris MD sends a letter (June 30, 2016) to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to express “strong disappointment and objection” to the FDA’s new voluntary sodium limits in food. Harris asks the Commissioner to explain misrepresentation of the IOM 2013 study on sodium.

Study Suggests Salt Restriction Only Beneficial In People With Hypertension
Cardiobrief (2016), coverage of study in The Lancet
Larry Huston

“Evidence-based Policy for Salt Reduction is Needed”
E
ditorial by The Lancet editorial board accompanying the study covered by Cardiobrief, above.
The editors write:
Evidence-based medicine has become the bedrock of treatment guidelines, but why does evidence-based medicine not translate into evidence-based policy? Governments and health organisations around the world are advocating salt intake be reduced, but little robust evidence exists to support a reduction in salt for the general population. Indeed, the few randomised controlled trials (RCTs) available have not strongly supported the benefit of salt reduction in normotensive populations.

Could 95 Percent of the World’s People Be Wrong About Salt?
Washington Post (2015)
Peter Whoriskey, staff writer.

The Salt Libel
Wall Street Journal (2014)

Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence
Institute of Medicine (2013)
“evidence from studies on direct health outcomes is inconsistent and insufficient to conclude that lowering sodium intake below 2,300 mg/day either increases or decreases risk of CVD outcomes (including stroke and CVD mortality) or all-cause mortality in the general U.S. population….”
The report concludes that sodium intake below 2,300 mg/day may lead to adverse health outcomes in several “disease-specific populations,” including those with diabetes and pre-existing heart disease, a population that includes tens of millions of Americans.

Sodium Intake and Cardiovascular Health”
Circulation Research (2015)
M. O’Donnell, Department of Medicine (M.O.D., S.Y.), and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (A.M.), Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, A. Mente, S. Yusuf.

Evidence Relating Sodium intake to Blood Pressure and CVD.”
Current Cardiology Reports (2014)
M. O’Donnell, Department of Medicine (M.O.D., S.Y.), and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (A.M.), Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, A. Mente, S. Yusuf.

The Population Risks of Dietary Salt Excess are Exaggerated.”
The Canadian Journal of Cardiology (2014)
A. Mente, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, M.J. O’Donnell, S. Yusuf.

Salt Intake and Cardiovascular Disease: Why are the Data Inconsistent?”
European Heart Journal (2013)
M. O’Donnell, Department of Medicine (M.O.D., S.Y.), and Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (A.M.), Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, A. Mente, A. Smyth, S. Yusuf.