Are Sodium Guidelines Too Restrictive?

If you missed my previous post on salt you can access it here:

The CDC seems to be the perp when it comes to misinforming everybody about salt intake and what it does (or doesn’t) do for health. As I mentioned in my other article, salt is crucial for us to survive. Sodium is found in every cell and is key for electrolyte balance as well as nerve conduction. Without sodium your nerves wouldn’t work…period!

Without sodium you wouldn’t see, hear, feel or taste anything. While I don’t put salt on all my food, some things need a pinch or so and I don’t feel bad about it in the least bit. I think there is a reason we crave salty foods and that is because our bodies need it.

While overdoing salt isn’t a good practice, just like overdoing anything, underdoing it is also nonsense. From the first DASH study performed you’ll see that while the three groups who were assigned to different diets all had roughly the same amount of sodium, the group that lowered blood pressure was the group that got rid of the junk and ate more vegetables and increased their potassium intake. This was all while the sodium level was around 3 grams/day in all the groups.[1]

Potassium intake in the form of vegetables IS a healthy thing to do. Carrots, broccoli, celery, kale, onions, and all the other bounty that is mother nature’s goodness should be consumed regularly. This I believe is a building block of solid health.

A new study has been released (although I haven’t been able to access it so what I say is based on the news article, not the study itself) that shows that,

“The study recorded ‘a U-shaped correlation between sodium intake and health outcomes.’ The researchers found that when consumption of sodium fell outside the range of 2,645-4,945 mg per day, there was an increase in mortality. This means that both excessively high and excessively low intakes of sodium were linked to an increased risk of death” [2]

U-shaped curves seems to be common in medical studies which corroborates the idea that too much is bad and too little is bad. Goldilocks wins everytime in biology.

So I wouldn’t worry too much if you’re consuming closer to 3 grams a day of sodium. The evidence in my opinion of detriment to health just isn’t there. Unless of course your sodium is coming from chips, McDonalds, Cheetos or other forms of garbage. Then you might need to be a little more careful.

In addition it might be beneficial to reduce added sodium to your food to be able to enjoy other flavors that might not be readily accesible to your palate if your tongue has had sodium overload. It takes some adjustment but changing up your preparation of food can bring about some amazing and remarkable changes in how you perceive taste. Try it out and enjoy your food.



1.Sacks, Frank M., et al. “Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.” New England Journal of Medicine 344.1 (2001): 3-10



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s