- Studies have linked a high intake of table salt to an increased risk of death, but recent data have been contradictory.
- A new study reports that the frequency of adding salt to cooked meals was associated with an increased risk of early death and reduced life expectancy.
- Eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables weakened or weakened this association between salt use and an increased risk of death.
- Adding salt to meals at the table accounts for 6-20% of your daily sodium intake, and reducing salt use at the table can have health benefits.
A recent study was published inEuropean Heart Journal It shows that individuals who always add salt to cooked meals were 28% more likely to die prematurely than those who rarely added salt. The frequency of table salt addition was also associated with reduced life expectancy.
Dr. Lu Chi, an epidemiologist at Tulane University and the lead author on the study said, “This is the first study to show that adding salt to meals is associated with a higher risk of early death and shorter life expectancy. Adding salt is a behavior that can be modified; therefore, the findings suggest that Our finding that modifying behavior by reducing the addition of salt to foods may be beneficial to human health.”
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Other researchers have used dietary surveys or dietary records to estimate daily sodium intake. These methods are prone to error due to challenges associated with accurately measuring the amounts of foods consumed or the failure of study participants to report the use of spices or table salt.
Furthermore, estimating sodium intake due to consumption of processed foods using dietary surveys can be challenging due to the difference in sodium levels in the same food product from different brands. Processed, packaged and processed foods in restaurants account for about 70% of
Another drawback to using dietary surveys is that they may overlook the effects of potassium intake. Many foods that contain high levels of sodium also contain high levels of potassium. High potassium levels are good for health and can reduce the harmful effects of high sodium intake on health. Since table salt consists primarily of sodium chloride (97-99%), assessing the frequency of adding salt to food can provide a measure of sodium intake independent of potassium intake.
Because of these difficulties in determining levels of sodium intake, the current study assessed the link between how often individuals add salt to their food and their risk of death. The researchers in the current study note that previous studies have shown that the frequency of adding salt to food can indicate an individual’s long-term preference for salt. Additionally, these salt use behaviors are less likely to be affected by daily changes in salt intake.
The current study consists of data from more than half a million individuals with an average age of 57 who volunteered to share their health data with the UK Biobank database. The researchers used a questionnaire to determine how often participants added salt to cooked meals.
Based on their response, participants were rated as never/rarely, sometimes, usually, or always using salt at the table. The researchers also obtained urine samples from the participants to assess the levels of sodium and potassium in the urine at baseline.
The researchers found a positive association between the frequency of salt addition and urine sodium concentration. In contrast, frequent salt addition is associated with lower urine potassium levels.
The frequency of adding salt to foods was also correlated with the levels of sodium excreted within 24 hours, estimated based on urine sodium levels measured using a urine sample.
The association between the frequency of adding salt to food and sodium levels in the urine suggests that an individual’s habit of adding salt to meals may reflect a long-standing taste preference for salt.
The researchers used mortality data from national registries to track participants’ deaths over a follow-up period of about nine years. They classified deaths under the age of 75 as premature.
After controlling for variables such as age, gender, diet, pre-existing diseases and levels of physical activity, the researchers found that the frequency of adding salt to food was associated with an increased risk of premature death from all causes and a lower life expectancy. Compared with individuals who never or rarely added salt to their food, always adding salt to food reduced life expectancy by 1.5 years in women and by about 2.3 years in 50-year-old men.
While examining the relationship between table salt use and cause-specific mortality, researchers found that frequent salt addition was associated with an increased risk of premature death from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Among the cardiovascular disease subtypes, individuals who frequently added salt to their food had a higher risk of early death from stroke than coronary heart disease.
Notably, among individuals who ate higher amounts of fruits and vegetables, the frequency of adding salt to meals was not associated with a higher risk of premature death. These findings suggest that eating potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can mitigate the effects of adding salt to food on mortality.
Dr Francesco Cappuccio, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Warwick, noted that adding salt while cooking food may play a more important role than salt added at the table.
“Salt intake is the result of salt added to food at the table (estimated here), salt added to food in cooking (not measured here), and most importantly, salt hidden in processed foods and food eaten outside the home, the latter of which is what Dr. Cappuccio said: More than 75% of total intake.
“Frequent addition of salt to food reflects an individual’s long-term preference for salt is a myth not supported by evidence. Randomized trials in Australia have shown that most salt cellar use is completed ‘before’ the food has been tasted, and if the size of the pit is reduced, less salt is added, indicating suggests that the use of a salt cellar at the table has nothing to do with salt-preference for taste.” Dr. Cappuccio added.
“Furthermore, if the salt content of commonly eaten foods such as bread gradually decreases over time (ie 10% per week or month), then salt reduction can be achieved without salt detection by consumers,” he explained.
Dr. Cappuccio noted that awareness campaigns to change behavior to reduce salt intake have positive short-term effects. Regulating industries to reduce salt content in food could be a more effective way to reduce salt intake among the population.
Furthermore, this study only shows an association between table salt use and mortality and does not establish causation.
Dr. Franz Messerli, Professor of Medicine at the University of Bern, Switzerland, said: “The difference in 24-hour sodium intake between those who never/rarely added salt and those who always did is a tiny 0.17g or less than 4%. It is highly unlikely that such a This negligible amount has no effect on blood pressure, let alone cardiovascular mortality or life expectancy.”
“I acknowledge that people who routinely add salt to their food show a widespread disregard for health considerations in their diet. These study participants consistently consumed more red meat and processed meat, and less fish, fruits and vegetables, than those who did not salt their food,” Dr. Messerelli explained.