While traditional knowledge says that eating more salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium suggests that increased intake of salt does not lead to high blood pressure or increase the risk of death due to heart disease.
A number of studies have linked high salt intake with a rise in blood pressure. Health guidelines released by the United States government recommend a maximum intake of 2,300 milligrams of salt per day.
However the recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that there is no evidence linking salt with high blood pressure and instead said that low salt intake could increase the risk of fatal heart attacks.
The researchers analyzed data from two different European studies which included the salt consumption habit of over 3,700 Europeans. More than 65 percent of the participants had normal blood pressure while none of them suffered from any heart disease. The researchers divided the participants into three groups depending on the amount of their salt intake.
After a period of eight years, the researchers found that while the risk of heart disease was same across the three groups, the number of deaths due to heart disease was the highest among those who consumed the least amount of salt while those who ate highest amount of salt had the lowest rate of death.
"It's clear that one should be very careful in advocating generalized reduction in sodium intake in the population at large. There might be some benefits, but there might also be some adverse effects", lead researcher Dr Jan Staessen said.