A series of not-so-new studies have concluded that too much sodium in our diets is triggering a host of maladies in too many of us. But now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 70 percent of Americans need to seriously cut back on the consumption of salt. That includes people with high blood pressure, those over 40 and all African Americans, the study shows.
The average American consumes about one-and-a-half teaspoons of salt every day, reports WebMD.com.
“That's a half teaspoon more than the basic daily recommendation of one teaspoon (about 2,300 milligrams of sodium). In fact, says the CDC, these groups should be eating no more than two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt (about 1,500 milligrams of sodium) per day,” the site reports. Some 145.5 million Americans – more than two in three people – are in those categories, the CDC calculates, noting that seven out of 10 U.S. adults get 2.3 times the healthy amount of salt.
Darwin Labarthe, MD, Ph.D., director of the CDC's division for heart disease and stroke prevention, says, "This is a very important message. There is no room for debate any longer that a high level of salt causes stroke and heart disease, and that lowering salt intake will diminish these very serious health consequences."
Salt causes the blood pressure to spike, and this spike dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. "Most of the salt in our diet comes from processed and manufactured foods," Labarthe says. "Only a small fraction comes from salt added to food at the table or to home cooking."