Chennai: With Tamil Nadu found to be leading the country in terms of its salt intake, which is way beyond the five grams per person per day limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), doctors have been urging the public to cut down on the same to avoid increased risks of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
However, according to a new research, it has been found that low salt intake may be just as harmful. The study, which was published in ‘The Lancet’ found that low salt or sodium, intake may raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke as compared to an average salt intake.
The study conducted in May this year found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of CVDs and death.
The study suggested that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure).
“Low sodium intake reduces blood pressure modestly as compared to average intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones which may outweigh any benefits. The key question is not whether blood pressure is lower with very low salt intake, instead, it is whether it improves health,” said Andrew Mente, lead author of the study.
Supporting the study, Chennai-based dietician Neena P said, “Many tend to follow the extreme — either extremely high dosage of salt or extremely low. Awareness should be created about the right quantity instead of encouraging people to cut down on its intake altogether.”
Stating that it was a common demand made by doctors to educate street vendors on the need to reduce the quantity of salt in the junk they sell, Cardiologist Dr Kumar said, “Many doctors too, are unaware of the importance of a certain amount of salt to be available in one’s diet. Salt intake prevents heat-related complications.”