How much salt is too much? Salt can affect health by raising blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart failure and heart attack. Stroke, osteoporosis, fluid retention, kidney problems, and more are also connected with salt levels.
Salt, sodium chloride, is found in every cell in your body. It is needed for good health. Nerve and muscle function require sodium. Blood pressure and blood flow volume are dependent on sodium. How much is too little?
The FDA issued draft guidance to reduce salt by 12% but did not identify a start date. Instead, they are collecting data from member companies. How much is too much?
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-dangers-of-sodium-restriction. Current recommendations https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21233236/ suggest that 1,500 mg of salt/day is the absolute minimum. Other standards tell us the lower limit should be 2,300 mg/day. Too little salt may increase insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart issues. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21036373/.
Too little or too much salt can cause heart problems. Blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16490476/ and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731062/ discuss heart health when salt levels are too low. We know that excessively high salt levels in the body can lead to heart attack and stroke. Seriously deficient salt levels in the body can lead to heart failure. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731062/
Most of the problems with salt center around eating out (not at home). More people eat fast food than ever before. Salt is much easier to control when you cook at home. If your doctor has placed you on a low-sodium diet to address blood pressure issues, you must become an expert on the salt levels of all the foods you eat – especially those that come in packages.
https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/fda-salty-foods/2021/10/13/id/1040292/. The FDA wants to cut back salt in the American diet by twelve percent – from 3,400 to 3,000 mg/day. The current lower limit of 2,300 mg/day is not addressed in this new guidance document. https://www.axios.com/fda-new-guidance-lower-sodium-salt-consumption-e5a04902-2085-431b-9a12-352e4914f444.html
These current goals are voluntary and are planned to be incorporated within the next three years. One hundred sixty-three foods are targets of reduced salt levels. The FDA is directing that the change be incremental over the next few years and will monitor industry progress in achieving them.
The FDA has changed salt levels in the past. This is a continuing follow-up to prevent unnecessary disease. Currently, the recommendations are voluntary. Why are they not mandatory immediately? If we want to reduce disease, start today!
Salt is a double-edged sword of sorts. We need salt, but too much or too little is harmful. I cook most of my meals at home. I use Himalayan salt (pink salt) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pink-himalayan-salt and have for years. Table salt has many additives that may or may not be healthy. Iodine is one element added to salt that helps. Fluoride does not. Iron helps a few people.
Then you have calcium aluminosilicate, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium oxide, sodium aluminosilicate, sodium ferrocyanide, tricalcium phosphate, and maybe one or two others. So table salt is not simply sodium and chloride.
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