While a high salt intake may raise the risk of heart attack and stroke, a recent study found that a low-salt diet may just be as dangerous.
The study, which was published in The Lancet, suggested that low salt or sodium intake may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death as compared to average salt consumption.
According to the study, which was conducted by investigators at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, the only people who need to reduce their salt consumption are those with high blood pressure or hypertension.
The study analyzed 130,000 people across 49 countries, focusing on whether the relationship between sodium intake and heart disease, stroke or death is different in those with hypertension compared to those with normal blood pressure.
The researchers found that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low salt consumption is linked to more cases of heart attacks, strokes and deaths compared with average consumption.
"These are extremely important findings for those who are suffering from high blood pressure," Andrew Mente, lead author of the study and associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster, said in a report published by the Daily Mail.
The researchers also suggested that current recommendations for daily salt consumption are set too low. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average American should consume less than 2,300 milligrams or one teaspoon of salt per day.
The study's methods, however, was openly criticized by experts, while others expressed their disbelief and questioned the study's findings.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio, head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nutrition and of the University of Warwick, condemned the research and called it "bad science", saying that the methodology is questionable, in particular, the assessments made by the researchers when using early morning urine tests to measure salt intake and the use of "inadequate equation" in getting the results.
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