Chicago: Put down the salt shakers. Eating too much salt and too little potassium can increase the risk of death, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.The findings from a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a counterpoint to a fiercely-debated study released last week that found no evidence that making small cuts in salt intake lowers the risk of heart disease and premature death."Salt is still bad for you," said Dr. Thomas Farley, Health Commissioner for New York City, which is leading a campaign to reduce salt in restaurant and packaged foods by 25 percent over five years.Most health experts agree with Farley that consuming too much salt is not good for you and that cutting salt intake can reduce high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke. Salt intake has been rising since the 1970s, with Americans consuming about twice the recommended daily limit.
And it suggests "that higher potassium may be better for you," Briss said in a telephone interview."About 90 percent of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended. This impacts their blood pressure," Briss said."Most of that sodium is not related to the salt shaker but it is in foods and especially processed and restaurant foods that we buy and order from restaurants. Consumers, even motivated ones, don`t have as much choice as they could," he said.Kuklina said potassium often counteracts the effects of salt in the diet. This equilibrium is affected when people eat highly processed foods, which tend to increase sodium levels and decrease potassium content."If sodium increases your high blood pressure, potassium decreases it. If sodium retains water, potassium helps you get rid of it," she said.Instead of focusing only on salt, Kuklina said researchers should focus on the balance between potassium and salt."We need to strive to do both -- decrease your sodium intake and increase your potassium intake," she said.Bureau Report
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