Despite knowledge that a high salt diet is linked to high blood pressure and stroke, it was not a high level of concern for most adults with diabetes, found an Australian survey.
Although there is some controversy about optimum sodium intake, studies show that a reduction in salt intake may help prevent strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. People with diabetes, who are already at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, need to be extra careful.
AdvertisementKristy Gray, a researcher from the University of South Australia School of Pharmacy and Medical Science in Adelaide and her research team analyzed questionnaires answered by Australian adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Researchers also tested participants' blood sugar, blood pressure, and the amount of sodium in their urine.
Of the 143 people who participated in the study, only about a third knew that salt contains sodium. Sadly, only 6 percent knew that the suggested upper limit for salt intake for Australians is 6 grams per day. Also, fewer than 30 percent of participants knew that white bread and cheese are high in salt.
However, 90 percent knew that foods such as carrots are low in salt and more than 80 percent knew that processed foods such as bacon and pizza are high in salt.
About half of the participants believed their health would improve if they lowered their salt intake and three quarters agreed that food manufacturers should do more to reduce salt in their food items. But when asked which nutrients were their biggest 'worry,' only 10 percent said salt was their biggest concern.
Almost three-quarters of the participants said they look for the sodium content of foods when shopping and 38 percent said they often purchase low or reduced salt foods.
And people who said they read the food labels tended to report lower sodium intake, although there was no link between label reading and sodium levels in urine, suggesting that even people trying to be cautious about salt were still consuming too much of it.