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.
Kristy 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
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.