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Americans Should Reduce Salt Intake, But There Is Confusion About Minimum Daily Levels

March 27, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. review of studies conducted in the U.K. and Finland has found that national salt-reduction programs led to lower sodium intake, reduced blood pressure, and – in Finland – a 75 to 80 percent decline in death from stroke and heart attack. According to lead author Dr. Theodore Kotchen, Americans consume way too much salt and need to cut back to levels recommended by physicians and national guidelines. Kotchen notes, however, that because sodium is essential for life, it can be difficult to distinguish between what’s a necessary minimum intake and what is excessive. In terms of safety, the lower limit of salt consumption has not been clearly identified.
Theodore A. Kotchen et al., "Salt in Health and Disease — A Delicate Balance", New England Journal of Medicine, March 27, 2013, © Massachusetts Medical Society
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