Health

Salt not as damaging to health as previously thought, says study | Science

Salt not as damaging to health as previously thought, says study | Science

Salt may not be as damaging to health as is usually claimed, according to a controversial new study which suggests campaigns to persuade people to cut down may only be worthwhile in countries with very high sodium consumption, such as China.

The World Health Organization recommends cutting sodium intake to no more than 2g a day – the equivalent of 5g of salt – because of the link to increased blood pressure, which is in turn implicated in stroke.

But no country has ever managed to get population salt or sodium intake that low, the authors of the study published in the Lancet medical journal point out. Their research, the Canadian academics say, shows it may be pointless to try in countries like the UK and the US.

The study by Prof Andrew Mente from the Population Health Research Institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University and colleagues is large, involving more than 90,000 people in more than 300 communities in 18 countries. But it immediately reignited a simmering row with other scientists who are on a crusade to reduce our salt consumption to near zero.