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How Much Is Too Much Salt?

The American diet holds a reputation for overconsumption of plenty of things that are less than healthy. Among some of those unhealthy things Americans are known for overindulging in includes salt. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that the problem of too much salt intake is not limited to the American diet though. The study, done out of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, says that too much sodium intake is a problem around the world.

The recently released study looked at the sodium intake and resulting health consequences of that sodium intake for people in 66 countries across the world as well as at the results of over 100 previously completed studies on the effects of sodium. Results show that on average people consume about twice the amount of sodium as the World Health Organization’s recommended 2,000 mg or less per day (roughly equivalent to less than 5 g of salt).

The study sites suggests that sodium consumption could be to blame for as much as ten percent of cardiovascular deaths around the world, or to put it into numbers approximately 1.65 million deaths with cardiovascular causes are directly linked to sodium consumption.

To help reduce sodium intake and its resulting problems, there are things people can do. First, people must be aware that sodium comes into the diet through sources other than the salt shaker. In addition to the salt people shake into their food, many foods already contain a substantial level of sodium. Sodium levels tend to be especially high in processed food and fast food where excessive amounts of salt are often added to improve taste. Awareness of these sources of sodium is key to reducing overconsumption of sodium. From there people should take note of their sodium consumption and determine places they can reduce sodium intake to more moderate, healthy levels.

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