Even a small reduction in salt use is an already important step towards better health, according to the researchers.
The consequences of too much salt consumption on health are already well known. However, a recent British study from the University of Tulane, New Orleans, goes even further and ensures that there is a direct link between the addition of sodium on a dish already cooked and an earlier death. On the other hand, it does not concern the only one that would be used during the preparation of a dish.
2.3 years and 1.5 years less
According to the British daily The Guardian, which is the relay of the conclusions of this work, the researchers based themselves on the research of the Biobank study, which consists of the follow-up of 500,000 Britons who were followed on average over nine years. They were asked, via a questionnaire, if they added salt to their food and how often they did so.
And the conclusions are implacable. Compared to those who never add extra salt at the table, affected individuals have a 28% increased risk of dying prematurely. In detail, at the age of 50, men and women who always add salt had a life expectancy that fell by 2.3 years and 1.5 years respectively.
“To my knowledge, our study is the first to assess the relationship between adding salt to foods and premature death. Even a modest reduction in sodium intake, by adding less or no salt to foods at the table, is likely to lead to substantial health benefits,” said Professor Lu Qi, from the school’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Watch out for excess
As further explained The Guardian, salt intake is extremely difficult to track in the population. Indeed, 70% of sodium intake in Western populations comes from processed and prepared foods, while only 8-20% comes from salt added at the table. Additionally, other factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, BMI, and drug or alcohol use should be considered.
According to the WHO, it is advisable not to exceed two grams of sodium per day, or 5 grams of salt. However, we generally consume 9 to 12 grams of salt per day on average, twice the maximum recommended intake. To reduce salt consumption, the WHO therefore recommends preparing your own meals.
In 2017, a study conducted by researchers from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki pointed out that although essential in small doses, salt is still bad for the heart. According to this work, excessive consumption promotes high blood pressure, itself the cause of cardiovascular disease, and can also cause water retention.