How much salt should we have per day?
The American Dietary Guidelines have changed drastically over the last few years and doctors are urging people to throw salt over their shoulders rather than onto their plates. However, a new study released from the Institutes of Medicine (IMO) reveals that the new lower restrictions may not have benefits as previously thought.
The American Heart Association promotes a 1,500 mg limit on sodium for the day which is about a half a teaspoon.
Low Salt Intake May Have Health Risks
However, the new IOM Study shows that there may be little benefit to such a low level of salt and may even impose a risk for normal body function.
"We're not saying we shouldn't be lowering excessive salt intake," says the University of Pennsylvania doctor who led the panel. It's just that below the 2,300mg mark, "There is simply a lack of data that shows it is beneficial."
The average American consumes more than 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt or 4,300 mg per day. This is almost double the study's recommendation of 2,300 mg a day.
But, lower levels of salt consumption may actually harm those with serious heart illnesses.
Table salt is the type of salt on most of our tables and it's also in restaurants. This type of salt has 2,325 mg of sodium in one teaspoon. It's not pure sodium but rather 40% sodium by weight. Other high sodium foods include: bullion cubes, soy sauce, salami, bacon, sundried tomatoes, cheese, pretzels, pickled foods and salt water crab.
Take Away: Skip the salt! If you eat any processed food you're probably already getting your "healthy" sodium intake.