Friday, February 15, 2013

Cutting salt could save 20,000 lives each year in UK

This is just assertion (no new data) that ignores a lot of evidence (See sidebar)

Reducing the amount of salt in our diets could save nearly 20,000 lives in the UK every year, according to researchers.

Doctors say deaths from heart disease would fall dramatically if consumers paid attention to food labels.

Yet most Britons have no idea how much salt they consume or what the maximum recommended levels are.

The recommended maximum daily intake for adults is 6g in the UK, although just last month the World Health Organisation revised this down to 5g.

Yet according to figures from the British Heart Foundation, men consume around 9.7g a day, while women have 7.7g.

Now researchers at three universities, including Harvard Medical School, have revealed the dramatic effect reducing salt could have on death rates by using computer models.

They estimated that reducing salt intake to 6g (or 2,300mg of sodium) would save 500,000 to 850,000 lives in the U.S over the next decade.

'No matter how we look at it, the story is the same – there will be huge benefits in reducing sodium,' said study author Dr Pam Coxson, from UCSF.

The British consumer group Consensus Action on Salt & Health said reducing the UK's daily intake to 6g could save around 17,500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes a year.

British GP Ian Campbell, medical director of charity Weight Concern, told Mail Online: 'Salt is a big problem in the UK too. It's a silent killer. Over time consuming too much of it increases the risk of high blood blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

'About 80 per cent of our salt intake comes from processed foods, so it can be difficult to avoid.

'Many people are unaware of where salt is hidden, such as bread, soups, ready meals, even breakfast cereals and mayonnaise.

'The Government approach has been to encourage food manufacturers to modify the amount of salt in their products. There has been a reduction but it is taking too long. The Food Standards Agency should consider setting mandatory maximum levels for salt.'

Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, added: 'Eating too much salt may raise your blood pressure and having high blood pressure increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease.

'The Government has worked with the food industry to reduce the amount of salt in our food and make labels clearer. But there is still work to be done by everyone because the majority of Brits are still consuming more salt than they should be.'


Protect your bones and wreck your heart?

More doubts about supplements  -- but the evidence is correlational only

Women with high calcium levels are at twice the risk of dying from heart disease than those with ‘normal’ levels, scientists warn.

New research adds to evidence that calcium supplements could be doing more harm than good in people with adequate intakes by overloading the body.

Hundreds of thousands of women over 50 take supplements for preventing osteoporosis, or thinning bones.

But the latest research shows women with calcium intakes at least double the recommended level are at high risk of death from all causes, particularly cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden studied 61,443 Swedish women aged 50 and over for an average of 19 years, including their calcium intake from diet and supplements.

Average intake among those with lowest levels was 572mg per day (the equivalent of five slices of cheese), rising to 2,137mg per day among those consuming most.

Results showed that over the 19 years, 11,944 women (17 per cent) died: 3,862 of these (32 per cent) died from cardiovascular disease, 1932 (16 per cent) from heart disease and 1100 (8 per cent) from stroke.

The highest rates of all-cause, cardiovascular and heart disease were observed among those with a dietary calcium intake higher than 1400mg per day.

In addition, researchers observed higher death rates among women with an intake below 600mg per day.

Women whose daily calcium exceeded 1400mg and also used supplements had a higher death rate than those not taking supplements - the risk was double compared with a daily intake of 600-999mg.

The Food Standards Agency recommends adults have 700mg of calcium a day, which should come from dietary sources including milk, cheese and green, leafy vegetables.

Researchers claim the way supplements increase the levels of calcium circulating in the blood appears to have a ‘flooding’ effect which might be harmful.

Dietary calcium taken in small amounts is absorbed slowly, and efforts should be made to boost intake in people eating too little, they say.

There have been conflicting results from past research, with some studies finding high calcium intakes increase the risk of heart death among men and women while others have failed to show a link.



Larry Sheldon said...
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Larry Sheldon said...

As I understand it the evil in salt is the sodium, never mind that chlorine is the poison in the pair.

What I'd like to know is, of the 18 bottles in my daily prescription/doctor ordered OTC drawer, 4 list sodium as an ingredient?