Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is about 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. It adds flavor to food. Also used as a preservative, binder, and stabilizer. The human body needs a very small amount of sodium – the primary element we get from salt – to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals. But too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Sodium consumption high among those at risk of heart disease:
Excess sodium intake is a problem across gender, race, and health status. Some differences were seen:
- Among adults, a larger proportion of men (98 percent) than women (80 percent) consume too much sodium.
- About 90 percent of adult whites consume excess sodium compared with 85 percent of blacks.
- Estimated sodium and calorie consumption peaks between the ages of 19 and 50.
- Among people at greater risk of developing heart disease or stroke – such as people age 51 and older, African Americans and individuals with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension (blood pressure higher than normal but not in the “high” range) – more than three out of four exceed 2,300 mg per day.
- Adults with hypertension consume slightly less sodium than other adults and may be trying to follow physicians’ advice to reduce sodium. However, 86 percent of adults with hypertension still consume too much.
At least that is what we were told.
Now we have a whole new outlook towards Sodium Chloride. What are we to do with salt. The government seems to change their position on everything sooner or later. Now, it seems to be Sodium Chloride turn. This phenomenon seems to happen fairly regularly when a new scientific research results come in. Now we understand that the facts of yesteryears were all wrong. Sodium chloride is no longer a cause for alarm.
The research, published recently in two dense papers in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, reported in The New York Times. Contradicts much of the conventional wisdom about how the body handles sodium chloride and suggests that high levels may play a role in weight loss.
During an experiment, they recorded that the cosmonauts ate a diet containing 12 grams of salt daily, followed by nine grams daily. In addition, the cosmonauts then ate a low-salt diet of six grams daily, each for a 28-day period. In like manner, in a longer mission, the cosmonauts ate an additional cycle of 12 grams of salt daily.
The Real Shocker for Salt
The real shocker came when Dr. Titze measured the amount of sodium excreted in the crew’s urine, the volume of their urine, and the amount of sodium in their blood.
When the crew ate more salt, they excreted more salt; the amount of sodium in their blood remained constant, and their urine volume increased.
Instead of drinking more, the crew was drinking less in the long run when getting more sodium chloride. So where was the excreted water coming from? More tests need to be made to answer all the questions.
So many new questions with so many new answers to come. This study by Dr. Titze made us look at Sodium Chloride in a new way. Are the findings decisive? Time will tell.
Gina Kolata “Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong” May 2017,<www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/health/salt-health-effects.html>
“New Research: Excess Sodium Intake Remains Common in the United States” May 2017<https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0106-sodium-intake.html>