Study questions need for people to cut salt

A large international study questions the conventional wisdom that most people should cut back on salt, suggesting that the amount most folks consume is OK for heart health – and too little may be as bad as too much.

Limiting salt is still important for people with high blood pressure – and in fact, a second study estimates that too much sodium contributes to up to 1.65 million deaths each year. The studies both have strengths and weaknesses, and come as the U.S. government is preparing to nudge industry to trim sodium in processed and restaurant foods. The first study’s leader, Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University’s Population Health Research Institute in Hamilton, Ontario, urged keeping an open mind. “There are those who have made a career out of promoting extreme sodium reduction that will attack us,” he said. It’s better to focus on healthy lifestyles and overall diets instead of a single element.”