FoodFacts.com evaluates food products based on ingredients and nutrient content. We pay attention to every aspect of nutritional quality for every product in our database. We’re always aware of the sodium content of foods and how sodium can affect our health and well being. There are products available in our grocery stores, restaurants and fast food chains that contain enormously high levels of sodium per serving. And we try to point out that there are alternative products that will fit comfortably into the recommended daily value for sodium.
Today we found new information that actually links eating too much salt to over 2 million deaths worldwide in 2010. Those deaths were caused by heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related conditions.
The study responsible for this information analyzed 247 previous studies of adult sodium intake. These studies were conducted between 1990 and 2010 as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study. They involved 488 scientists from 303 institutions in 50 different countries.
As part of their analysis, scientists determined how the amount of sodium people consumed was affecting their risk for cardiovascular disease. They performed an analysis of 107 randomized trials that measured how sodium affects blood pressure and how the differences in blood pressure relate to the risk for cardiovascular disease. Deaths in these studies were evaluated.
Almost 1 million deaths (40 percent of the total from the group) were premature (people 69 years old and younger). 60 percent of the deaths occurred in men and 40 percent in women. Heart attacks were responsible for 42 percent and strokes 41 percent. The remaining fatalities were attributable to other forms of cardiovascular disease.
The study noted that national and global public health programs to reduce sodium intake could have the potential to save millions of lives.
Among the 30 largest countries in the world, those with the highest death rates (per million adults) due to over consuming sodium were Egypt, Russia and the Ukraine. Countries with the lowest death rates due to the over-consumption of sodium were the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Qatar.
The U.S. ranked 19th out of the 30 largest countries, with 429 deaths per million adults due to eating too much sodium (representing 1 in 10 US deaths due to these causes).
The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium in your diet to no more than 1,500 mg a day, and has tips on how to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, as well as information on six commonly consumed foods that are high in sodium.
FoodFacts.com wants to remind everyone in our community that processed foods can often contain unreasonable amounts of sodium per serving. Fast foods are notorious for astoundingly high sodium levels and even the better restaurants out there can be heavy handed with salt in their food preparation. It’s best to be aware of the sodium levels in the foods you consume. Prepare foods from scratch for yourself and your family as often as possible because it’s the best way to be sure of sodium levels and food ingredients. When we control our own diets, instead of letting food manufacturers, fast food chains and restaurants control them, we can be sure of what’s really in our food.