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The medical profession and the Government have been warning the public to consume less salt for years, but researchers from Exeter University say the health benefits have been 'overestimated'.
The controversial study concluded that there was 'no strong evidence' to suggest that cutting back on salt reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death.
The average adult consumes around 9g of salt each day – 3g more than the current recommendations. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) would like to see that figure reduced by two thirds, to 3g by 2025.
It's widely accepted that a diet high in salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Despite this, the authors of the study say that there is limited evidence to suggest eating less salt reduces the risk of illness or early death.
Lead researcher, Rod Taylor, said: "Perhaps surprisingly we didn't find any statistically significant reduction in death or cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes."
However, he admits that they didn't see big benefits because the people in the trials they analysed only reduced their salt intake by a moderate amount, so the effect on blood pressure and heart disease was minimal.
Katharine Jenner, of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said she was disappointed by the message from this one 'small review'.
She said: "This is a completely inappropriate conclusion, given the strong evidence and the overwhelming public health consensus that salt raises blood pressure which leads to cardiovascular disease.
"This review is based on just seven studies that were not designed to test the effects of sodium reduction interventions on cardiovascular events and mortality."
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