Thursday, July 14, 2011

A diet high in salt and low in potassium will cause premature death

A diet high in salt and low in potassium will cause premature death.

One study looked at the long-term consumption of sodium. Experts recommend eating more fruits and vegetables.

Chicago (Reuters). Below the salt shakers. Eating too much salt and low potassium may increase risk of death, researchers said to the U.S. government.

The findings of a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease Prevention contradict a controversial study published last week indicating that there was no evidence that making small reductions in intake salt reduces the risk of heart disease and premature death.

"Salt is still bad for health," said Dr. Thomas Farley, health commissioner of New York City, who is leading a campaign in five years to reduce by 25 percent salt in restaurants and packaged foods , and wrote an editorial accompanying the new study.

Most health experts agree with Farley that eating too much salt is not good for your health and to cut their intake can lower high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke (CVA).

The CDC study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, focused specifically on recent research showing that a diet high in salt and low in potassium is especially risky.

The researchers observed the effects of long term consumption of sodium and potassium, as part of a 15-year over 12,000 people.

At the end of the study period, 2270 participants had died: 825 of those deaths were from heart disease and 433, blood clots and stroke. The team found that people who ate too much salt and low potassium were running more risk.

"People who ate a diet high in sodium and low potassium were 50 percent higher risk of death from any cause, and nearly twice the risk of death from heart attack," said Dr. Elena Kuklina of the CDC, who helped lead the study.

The expert said that consumers should increase their levels of potassium in the diet by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables such as grapes , spinach , carrots , sweet potatoes , milk and skim yogurt .

The industry group called the Salt Institute challenged the results, noting that the CDC study found that the relationship between salt intake and heart disease was statistically insignificant.

Robert Briss, director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, said the findings generally support the evidence and suggest that high doses of sodium are linked to poor health consequences.

"If sodium high blood pressure increases, potassium decreases it. If the generated sodium retention, potassium helps eliminate them, "said Kuklina.

Instead of focusing only on the salt, she said that researchers should aim to balance between potassium and salt. "We try to do both: reduce sodium intake and increase potassium intake," said Kuklina.

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