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Low Sodium Salt Could Save Millions of Lives

Potassium Salt Can Save Million Lives (Photo: KHNI)

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, low-sodium salts has the potential to lessen sodium consumption and save lives. Low-sodium salts substitute potassium for some of the sodium, which has similar characteristics. These salt replacements have roughly a fourth less sodium than ordinary salt yet taste the same and may be used in the same way, according to a CNN Health report.

Excessive Salt Consumption Could Lead To Death 

Excessive salt consumption can be fatal. High sodium consumption is likely to kill 1.6 million people worldwide this year. Four out of every five of these deaths will occur in low- and middle-income nations, with over half occurring in adults under the age of 70. These deaths from high salt consumption are avoidable. Most countries’ daily salt intake exceeds the World Health Organization’s 5-gram daily upper limit; the global average, 10.1 grams of salt, is more than double this level.

Eating less salt has the potential to save millions of lives. However, lowering dietary salt intake has proven difficult. Food preferences evolve slowly, the industry has no incentive to reduce the sodium content of food—and significant motives to retain or raise it—and there aren’t many salt substitutes that taste the same.

Food Industry has No Incentive to Reduce the Sodium Content of Food (Photo: Fit Trim Happy)

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Advantages Of Potassium Salt

Potassium salts have two advantages. Sodium reduction lowers blood pressure and saves lives. Increased potassium consumption, which most people in most countries, including the United States, do not get enough of, lowers blood pressure and increases heart health. The George Institute for Global Health’s landmark study in China found that low-sodium salt alternatives save lives and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Low-sodium salt reduced the risk of death by 12%, stroke risk by 14%, and total cardiovascular events (strokes and heart attacks combined) by 13%. To put this in context, a 13% reduction in cardiovascular events in the United States would prevent over 200,000 heart attacks and strokes every year and millions of heart attacks and strokes globally.

The study, which was one of the largest and longest-running salt replacement trials ever, lasted five years and involved 21,000 participants with a history of stroke or poorly controlled blood pressure (that is, those at highest risk for heart attack or stroke). It demonstrates that low-sodium salts prevent heart attacks and strokes and are a suitable substitute that can be easily incorporated into the diets of the majority of individuals. Furthermore, no higher risk of significant adverse events was discovered in the study.

Low-sodium salt replacements are a tried-and-true way to save lives and money. This is an initiative that is low-cost to governments, convenient to implement, saves healthcare expenditures, and has a genuine benefit for economies and individuals.

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