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The Low-Sodium Diet May Not Be As Great As Once Thought


Steering clear of salty snacks in favor of a low-sodium diet has been drilled into us for as long as we can remember. But according to a new study, sticking to a low-salt diet might not actually be beneficial for everyone. In fact, it might actually be the opposite.

Researchers from the Population Health Research Institute conducted a worldwide study—involving more than 130,000 participants from 49 countries—to look at how the sodium in our diets actually impacts our cardiovascular health.

In their findings, published in The Lancet, the researchers reported that the only individuals who actually have to worry about sticking to a low-sodium diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) who are already consuming seriously high amounts of salt.

As for the rest of us, slashing salt from our diets might actually be a bad idea. The researchers specifically looked at how salt intake impacted the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death in both people with high blood pressure and those with normal blood pressure. And surprisingly they found that regardless of whether you have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake—we're talking 3 grams a day or less—was actually associated with more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths as compared to regular salt intake.

If you have high blood pressure, it's a good idea to continue keeping an eye on your sodium intake. But if your blood pressure falls in the normal range, celebrate the good news by tossing out those flavorless, low-salt snacks.