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Dietary Salt Cutbacks Bring Few Heart Health Benefits, Study Finds

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge FLICKR/SGT. PEPPEREDJANE

It's not an excuse to let it pour like the girl on the Morton's box, but cutting salt intake doesn't have a significant impact on cardiovascular disease, a British study has found.

Limiting salt consumption may reduce blood pressure slightly, but the research, which was published July 6 in the American Journal of Hypertension, did not find evidence of an effect on mortality or heart disease, CBC News in Canada reports. The six-month-long study by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter involved nearly 6,500 participants.

While researchers acknowledge that lowering salt intake can reduce blood pressure, blood pressure is only one factor in cardiovascular risks such as heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.

Ultimately, the study found "a lack of strong evidence of an effect of dietary sodium reduction on mortality and cardiovascular outcomes." In fact, it concluded that "People who choose a lower-salt diet are likely to also eat a diet of fresh foods, lower in fats and refined carbohydrates, take more exercise and be less likely to smoke, so their lower levels of deaths and disease may not related to salt intake at all."

Salt is still great at killing snails, however.

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