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New Evidence Shakes Up Perceptions of Salt
Date:10/14/2009

cally set normal range. To do otherwise will expend valuable national and personal resources against unachievable goals."

Study Analysis Finds Sodium Consumption Is Not at Extreme Levels

The researchers evaluated 24-hour urinary sodium excretion, the standard measure of daily sodium intake, from 19,151 individuals collected in 62 previously published surveys from 33 countries worldwide. In contrast to the widely held notion that salt intake has reached extreme levels in Western societies, the analysis indicates that daily sodium intake across a wide range of "food environments" tracks within a relatively narrow range: 117 mmol-212 mmol (2,700-4,900 mg). In addition, previous studies provide supportive evidence that adult humans naturally seek this range of sodium intake.

Further, the authors highlight neuroscience research in animal models demonstrating that sodium intake is tightly controlled by critical pathways in the brain to maintain optimal function of many physiologic functions.

"Decades of neuroscience research have revealed highly sophisticated brain circuits which regulate sodium appetite by facilitating communications between the brain and multiple organs throughout the body," said Joel C. Geerling, M.D., Ph.D., formerly of Washington University and a co-author of this study. "One purpose of these pathways is to ensure that the body is obtaining adequate sodium from the diet to fulfill physiologic needs." Dr. Geerling is currently a physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

The importance of the question posed by this article is further highlighted by the efforts of national agencies and municipal departments, such as the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the New York City Department of Health, which have set in motion campaigns to mandate food companies and restaurants to lower the sodium content of foods.

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SOURCE UC Davis
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