You have been told for years to cut back on your salt intake to avoid health problems like high blood pressure. But now a surprising new study says cutting back may not be worth the struggle.
In fact, an independent panel of health experts claims you could even face some harm from an ultra-low sodium diet. In a report to U.S. health officials, the Influential Institute of Medicine reviewed the link between salt and health.
The group acknowledged that Americans as a whole eat too much salt but questioned how much one should cut back. Today's report is prompting an outcry from health organizations and doctors alike that say if anything people eat too much. They point to restaurant or fast food meals which have almost the daily maximum sodium allowance in just one sitting.
"I think it's a big mistake. Right now the recommendation from the federal government is for people to consume no more than 2,300 mg a day and Americans consume almost 1,000 mg more than that," said Deborah Ekery, Cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin. "We see that all the time, when family members come in town or celebrating something and eat out a lot. They usually end up in heart failure or in the hospital."
People we spoke to around town admit they have a diet heavy in sodium.
"I've had a problem with blood pressure and my weight so I've been trying to reduce my salt content in what I eat when I'm out and at home. When you eat out it's hard to control the salt but you can sure taste it," said Jim Livingston.
"My diet is full of salt. Too many appetizers and coming from a Latin background I have a lot of salt in my diet unfortunately. It's a must absolutely," Benjamin Factor said.