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Lesser salt, better well-being

By Kathleen Raven in New York ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-02-12 07:09:27

Eating less than one teaspoon of salt per day remains the ideal goal, according to a new US study.

Most research has linked high sodium consumption with greater risks of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Evidence has shown that men and women ages 51 or older, African-Americans or those with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease face especially high risks.

But when several studies produced findings suggesting diets could be too low in sodium, the US Institute of Medicine asked experts to review studies on the health effects of sodium.

The data "weren't entirely convincing", says Nancy Cook, lead author of the current study published in the journal Circulation and a member of that expert panel.

Cook is a statistician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

In an attempt to resolve the conflicting information, Cook and her team analyzed data from a previous large study called the Trials of Hypertension Prevention designed to look at high blood pressure.

The study followed the field's "gold-standard" technique of measuring salt consumption in 24-hour urine samples.

Other salt consumption studies have used single urine collections or overnight samples, neither of which provide as much consistency and accuracy as samples that participants collected throughout an entire day and night.

"The quality of the sodium measures (in the study) is probably better than any other study out there," Cook says.

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