The Effect of Reducing Salt Intake
References 6-7 deal with the long-term medical impact of diet and reducing salt intake. Reference 6 deals with the actual impact of the DASH diet on women. In other words, does it improve their health and longevity? Interestingly, they find that for people without hypertension, there is some benefit from adherance to the DASH diet (risk reduction of coronary heart disease is 0.76, with a margin of error between 0.64 and 0.88, for the strictest adherence) However, for hypertensive people, there is a larger risk reduction of coronary heart disease, resulting from strict adherance: 0.68, with a Margin of Error between 0.57 and 0.84. For the risk of a stroke, only hypertensive people seem to benefit from the DASH diet. These results should not surprise our regular readers: the DASH diet has many similarities to the Mediterranean diet that is know to provide such benefits.
This (reference 6) study, does not resolve the issue of sodium impact. This is dealt with directly in reference 7. The study followed 8,699 US adults, age higher than 30, without history of CVD events, recruited between 1988 and 1994, for about 9 years. The sodium intake of the participants was assessed based on interviews by trained staff and involved a 24-hour recall of their diet. Their conclusions are clear: "Observed associations of lower sodium with higher mortality were modest and mostly not statistically significant. However, these findings also
suggest that for the general US adult population, higher sodium is unlikely to be independently associated with higher CVD or all-cause mortality". In other words, the population at large does not attain a measurable benefit from sodium reduction, reaffirming the results of reference 2! We again comment that these results may not apply directly to hypertensive people - reference 5 shows a small but clear impact on hypertension as a result of sodium reduction.
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Last Modification - September 1, 2008