1500- The max amount of salt you should have per day


1500-That is the new amount of salt, in mg per day, recommended by the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) for almost 70% of all Americans – including anyone over 40, people with prehyptertension or hyptertension, and all African Americans.

That is about slightly more than the amount you would get from food if you ate mostly fresh items, cooked everything yourself and avoided all processed (meaning canned, frozen and packaged foods) and restaurant food. Which is what most Americans need to do to get to that threshhold. Most get 2 or 3 times that amount each day – and 77% of that comes from food that is processed or from a restaurant.

Here are some interesting stats from our scientist, Dr. James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN, who has spent the last 12 years updating a reference paper we have on salt on our site (it is for a CPE course but anyone can read his article for free):

  • Salt toxicity and subsequent hypertension (HTN) is the #1 destroyer of kidneys
  • HTN is a major risk factor for senility, which can take the fun out of ones latter years.
  • HTN being the #1 risk factor for stroke, which is the #1 reason people go into a nursing home for the rest of their lives.
  • And while heart attacks are down, heart failure is up and the #1 cause of heart failure is salt toxicity and related HTN.
  • Heart failure coupled with excess salt intake is the #1 reason Americans get admitted to a hospital.
  • Heart failure is also known as congestive heart failure because fluid builds up in the lungs (causing congestions) causing shortness of breath and a slow suffocation. Living with a failing heart usually means relatively low enjoyment of life.
  • Hypertension and salt toxicity greatly increase the risk of developing Atrial Fibrillation – the most common heart rythm disorder
  • And let’s not forget HTN and salt toxicty are major causes of the 1.5 million heart attacks each year.
  • Excess salt and meat are the two major causes of  kidney stones
  • The increased calcium lost in the urine with each salty meals contributes to osteoporotic fractures
  • Cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and kidneys are all prmoted by excessive salt intake
  • Excess salt intake promotes more headaches and heartburn
  • The majority of Americans have HTN by the time they are in their 60s and of those who are lucky enough to escape HTN up to age 65y two-thirds will still develop it before their 75th birthday and 90% by their 85th birthday.
  • According to a recent University of Southern California study reducing salt intake by  1200mg/day (or by less than 1/3) would save as many lives over the next 10 years as if all American smokers quit tomorrow for good.
  • And research shows that cutting sodium intake even more to about 1200 to 1500mg/day depending on age would virtually eliminate HTN and other lills caused largely by added (“second hand”) salt.
HTN is usually reversable without drugs; salt kills far more Americans than tobacco (or anything else); salt is no longer needed to preserve food and the FDA classifies salt as “Generally Recognised as Safe” even though the CDC recently said almost 70% of all Americans, including everyone over 40 years of age, should cut their salt intake by nearly 2/3 to 1500 mg.
Medical treatments like angioplasty do nothing to reduce the risk of dying from CVD but cutting salt and returning BP to normal can cut the risk of CVD by at least 70 to 80% if you have HTN. Clearly HTN and salt toxicity are not something that only a small percentage of Americans need concern themselves with.
Sodium Education Kit

“Copyright foodandhealth.com, reprinted with permission”

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