More conflicting recommendations for sodium intake came out on Tuesday. Now, we have to worry about taking in too little sodium, as well as too much.
Previous recommendations from the American Heart Association and other organisations suggested that about half of Americans — those with high blood pressure and African Americans — should take in less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.
The new analysis by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says those levels could be dangerously low.
The sweet spot is at 2,300 milligrams a day, the level recommended by IOM in their new report. This is still lower than the approximately 3,400 milligrams that the average American takes in a day.
Possible harm from sodium levels below 1,500 milligrams a day could include increased rates of heart attacks and increased risk of death, the New York Times reports.
The IOM group didn’t do any new studies — they just analysed the studies that are already out there. It was difficult to draw conclusions, though since the studies were done in very different ways. That also made it hard to determine what a “healthy” range was.
“These new studies support previous findings that reducing sodium from very high intake levels to moderate levels improves health,” committee chair Brian Strom and University of Pennsylvania professor George S. Pepper said in press release. “But they also suggest that lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person’s risk of some health problems.”
They say more work needs to be done to discover the truth.
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