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Salt unhealthy or not? Facts and fables about salt

  1. Is salt unhealthy or not? The question is often asked. After all, many fables are circulating about the (un) healthy effects of salt. About low-salt food to reduce the risk of stroke or to prevent cardiac arrest. Those kinds of views have been the prevailing opinion until now. But scientific views on salt have changed. Although limiting salt consumption can lower blood pressure, the benefits of a low-salt diet have been controversial in recent years.

Why is too much salt unhealthy?

  1. The harmfulness of salt is being discussed again and again. Just like that also happens with sugar. And opinions often differ with regard to salt as well. There are no unambiguous studies showing a link between certain diseases and salt. Still, too much salt in food is certainly unhealthy. After all, if there is too much salt in the body, the electrolyte balance becomes unbalanced.

How we get salt unnoticed through food

  1. Often we don't even notice how much salt we consume throughout the day. After all, salt is hidden in almost all foods. Large quantities of salt are often used, especially in end products. If the body gets too much salt, it can lead to:

The Effects of Salt on Blood Pressure

  1. The salt shaker was therefore simply banned for years by many doctors and nutritionists. After all, salt in the diet boosts blood pressure and it was proven that high blood pressure makes sick and shortens life. For years, those slogans were blindly repeated as justification for unrealistic behavior. But it is only half the truth. The harmfulness of salt has never been clearly established and its effects on blood pressure are minimal. At least that's what new studies show. And that's not all: a strict low-salt diet can even damage health and increase the risk of death.

Growing doubts about the statement “salt is wrong”

  1. However, doubts about the statement “salt is wrong” have grown rapidly among experts in recent years. Restricting salt consumption does indeed lower blood pressure, but is still open to some nuance. The benefit or disadvantage of a low-salt diet in patients with high blood pressure is not readily available based on randomized controlled trials.

Significant increase in stress hormones with a low-salt diet

  1. The researchers came to the conclusion that a restriction of salt intake does indeed reduce blood pressure, but only minimally:

Higher risks with low salt diet

  1. Recent setbacks to long-standing beliefs about the erroneous effects of salt came from six major studies published in 2012 in the journal “Heart”:

What contains a lot of salt?

  1. The consumer often has the wrong idea when it comes to the question "what contains a lot of salt"? Most of the amount of salt consumed daily does not come from the salt shaker at all. It comes from end products of the food industry, especially in canned food, but also in:

Reduced salt consumption, not without risk in the elderly

  1. The absence of salt in the diet can pose a particular risk in the elderly because the moisture content in the body changes over time. While the water content in a baby makes up about 82 percent of his body weight, in adults that value drops to about 60, and in old age even to about 52 percent. Older people tire more quickly, are less thirsty and drink too little. Therefore, dehydration due to lack of moisture and salt in the diet is a common condition in the elderly.

Medication and excessive fluid loss

  1. The situation is exacerbated by other, also typical, living conditions in old age:

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