proponents of the Paleo diet suggest limiting salt based on evidence of
low salt intake during the Paleolithic era. This limitation meshes with
recommendations made by various health organizations, such as the USDA
and the American Heart Association, who suggest limiting sodium to at
least 2,300 mg per day and even as little as 1,500 mg per day. And if
our Paleolithic ancestors ate a low salt diet, then it certainly must be
Not necessarily. Recently, evidence
has been mounting against universal salt restriction guidelines. A
low-salt diet may cause serious health consequences and higher overall
mortality, especially in the presence of certain chronic health
conditions and lifestyle factors. In this article, I will discuss
scientific evidence that contradicts salt restriction recommendations,
as well as potential health risks of consuming a diet too low in salt.
healthcare experts have been recommending salt restriction ever since
the 1970s, when Lewis Dahl established “proof” that salt causes
hypertension. In his research, he induced high blood pressure in rats by
feeding them the human equivalent of over 500 grams of sodium a day; 50
times more than the average intake in the western world. Dahl also
invoked evidence that cultures consuming higher levels of salt tend to
have higher blood pressure than those who consume less salt.
when Intersalt researchers investigated this possible association,
while controlling for confounding factors, the correlation between blood
pressure and salt intake almost disappeared.
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