Problem

Excessive consumption of salt

Other Names:
Eating too much sodium
Nature:
The American government recommends that people reduce their salt intake by one third to 6 grams a day. Salt consumption levels per capita have been constant for the last century.
Incidence:
As an indication, the market for salt in the UK in 1986 was £19 million.
Claim:
1. At every age there is a link between salt intake and blood pressure. An extra 6 grams of salt per day can produce systolic blood pressures 5 to 7 points higher.

2. In 1995 in the USA there was an epidemic of high blood pressure that was blamed on excessive salt consumption.

3. People from isolated communities living on a mainly vegetarian diet without access to salt have stable blood pressure. If they start a high-salt diet, they often develop high blood pressure.

4. A 1995 study showed that adding proportions of salt within the norms for human populations to chimpanzees' diets induced high blood pressure.

Counter Claim:
1. There is no study to show that people who reduce their salt consumption are healthier or live longer.

2. Low salt diets have no effect upon people with normal blood pressure.

3. Not everyone who eats a lot of salt develops high blood pressure.

4. Among salt-eaters, stresses, type and amount of food eaten, alcohol consumption and smoking behaviour encourage hypertension. Salt may play a minor role compared to these factors.

5. Some experts claim that excessive salt is not the problem; rather, a concomitant lack of calcium and potassium is.

Aggravates:
Hypertension
Reduced By:
Low salt diet
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
02.06.1999 – 00:00 CEST