Research Shows not Following a Low Sodium Diet has High Risk Factors
Go to any eating establishment on any night of the week and it’s easy to see: Americans love salt. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 70 percent of Americans consume more than double the amount of sodium recommended daily. The over consumption of sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure, known as hypertension, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. And the main source of sodium in food is salt. It’s easy to see: low sodium diets are significant for a healthy lifestyle.
Who Does Hypertension Affect?
Heathnews.com reports that during the period of 2005 to 2006, it was estimated that 29 percent of U.S. adults had hypertension, while 28 percent had blood pressure levels indicative of pre-hypertension. According to the American Heart Association, the cost of hypertension in the U.S. in 2008 was an estimated $69.4 billion. In addition, almost 16 million people in the United States have heart disease and 5.8 million have suffered a stroke.
The government’s most recent dietary guidelines on sodium intake, issued jointly in 2005 by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, set a cap of 2,300 mg per day for adults without special risk factors, which is equivalent to only about 1 teaspoon of sodium a day.
CDC research says that the average American consumes 3,436 mg of sodium per day, although 69.2 percent of people in the three special risk groups—having hypertension, being black or at least 40 years old—should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day. This total percentage is the sum of 30.6 percent of people 20 years of age or older who suffered from hypertension, and 34.4 percent of those ages 40 and older who did not have hypertension, as well as 4.2 percent of black people between the ages of 20 to 39 with no hypertension.
Darwin R. Labarthe, MD, MPH, PhD, FAHA, Director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and colleagues said the study highlights the need for clinicians to be aware of the recommendation so that they can identify patients who should be on diets low in sodium: a point echoed by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) editors in an unsigned commentary.
What Can You Do to Lower Your Risk?
“Although the federal dietary guidelines were published four years ago, the percentage of U.S. residents to whom the lower sodium recommendation is applicable has never been reported,” MMWR editors noted. They also pointed out a major problem with patients’ ability to comply with the recommendations. “The current daily percentage value for sodium in the nutrition facts panel of packaged foods is based on a previous federal guideline of 2,400 mg/day and is likely to mislead a majority of consumers, for whom the 1,500 mg/day limit is applicable,” the editorial said. The editors called for actions to provide more relevant information about sodium in food labeling.
The main source of sodium consumed by Americans comes from packaged and processed foods. According to the CDC, there are simple steps that can be taken to help to reduce sodium intake. When eating out, go for low sodium diet menu items: choose foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and request that your food be prepared without salt. In addition, be sure to read the nutrition labels on grocery items before purchasing them. The CDC also reports that several federal agencies are currently working with major food manufacturers and chain restaurants to create low sodium diet foods.
You will also find that Spices Inc. has an outstanding selection of healthy salt free seasonings that will flood your senses with taste and aroma.