“For certain individuals who are salt sensitive, excessive consumption of sodium can increase blood pressure,” says the Salt Institute, which represents the salt industry. Certain individuals?
“Some people react to sodium more quickly than others,” says Stephen Havas, a former Vice President of Science, Quality, and Public Health at the American Medical Association. “But 90 percent of people in this country develop hypertension and the principal cause is exposure to excess sodium, so most people over time don’t do well with high-salt loads.”
What’s more, “there is no predictor or test of salt sensitivity,” adds Havas. “So one has to assume that almost all of us are sensitive to long-term sodium exposure.”
That’s why expert panels recommend no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day if you’re middle-aged or older, are black, or already have high blood pressure. Everyone else should shoot for 2,300 mg a day. But “everyone else” turns out to be just 30 percent of U.S. adults.
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