You probably hear this every time you reach for the salt at dinner: “Don’t put too much salt on the food! It’s bad for you!” It’s true that sodium intake correlates with heart health, and it’s definitely true that Americans eat too much salt in general. However, a new study shows that eating too little salt can be harmful and that meeting the estimated 2,300 milligrams a day guideline is good for you. ABC News explains that the new report done by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) stresses that the nation needs to ease back on sodium overall but not in extreme ways.
The IOM urges that more research is done about this important topic, especially because of the effect on salt for people with heart conditions. Dr. Brian Strom of the University of Pennsylvania who is involved with the IOM explains that, “there is simply a lack of data that shows it is beneficial” to eat less than 2,300 milligrams a day. According to The New York Times, Dr. Strom said that the data on the health effects of sodium were too inconsistent for the committee to say what the upper limit of sodium consumption should be. In its 2005 report, the IOM’s committee said that sodium consumption between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day would not raise blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) begs to differ. They insist that everyone “not just those at risk” should aim for a lower sodium level. The institution recommends a 1,500 milligram salt-intake based on data that salt levels effect blood pressure. Despite of the new report, the salt debates continue. Just how much salt is 2,300 milligrams? Here are a few examples of some common foods to give you an idea:
Panera Bread: Bacon Turkey Bravo Sandwich = 2,820 mg
Moe’s: quesadilla with rice, beans, chicken, cheese, and tomatoes= 1,250 mg
Starbucks: vegetables, egg and Monterey jack cheese on an artisan roll = 590 mg
Red Mango: fresh strawberry banana smoothie= 230mg