Lest you write in protest, we’re just reporting this news, not taking a position it.
A new report – Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence – is making big waves in the medical world.
It comes from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which helps determine official U.S. positions on things like recommended nutrient intakes.
In short, the IOM's sodium panel largely rejected previous advice to people with risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
People deemed at risk for heart attacks and strokes include those over 50, blacks, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Together, they constitute a whopping one-half of all U.S. adults.
The American Heart Association advises them to consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day … just over half a teaspoon of salt.
But the IOM sodium panel found insufficient evidence to support that advice to people at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
The U.S. dietary guidelines for 2005 recommended that the general population get 1,500 to 2,300mg of sodium a day, and average sodium consumption in the United States and worldwide, is about 3,400 milligrams a day.
The IOM report also contains considerable evidence linking low sodium intake to serious health risks ... a fact often overlooked in the sodium debate.
You can read more about the report – including quotes from its critics – in “No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet” from the May 14, 2013 edition of The New York Times.