People Those who add extra salt to their meals at the table are at greater risk of early death from any cause, according to a study.
A study of more than 500,000 people found that those who always added salt to their food had a 28% increased risk of premature death compared to those who never or rarely added it.
Generally, about three out of every 100 people between the ages of 40 and 69 die prematurely in the general population.
Now new calculations for a study published in the European Heart Journal show that an extra one in every 100 people who add salt to their food could die young.
The researchers also calculated how many years the extra salted people shortened their lives compared to those who did not add salt.
At the age of 50, the life expectancy of women and men who always salted their food was reduced by 1.5 years and 2.28 years, respectively.
Chloe McArthur, Senior Cardiac Nurse British Heart Foundationsaid: “We need some salt in our diet, but eating too much can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“While it’s always important for people to be careful about adding too much salt to food, the vast majority of salt is already in our food before we buy it, meaning we’re consuming more than we realise.
“That’s why it’s important for Govt look at ways of encouraging the food industry to reduce the amount of salt it puts into food, such as a salt tax recommended in Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy.’
The new study was led by Professor Lu Qi of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. New Orleans in the USA with colleagues from Harvard Medical School.
He said: “Even modest reductions in sodium intake by adding less or no salt to food at the table are likely to produce substantial health benefits, particularly if achieved in the general population.”
Professor Qi chose to add salt at the table because estimating total salt intake is difficult due to the high salt content of many foods, including processed ones.
He said: “Adding salt to food at the table is a common eating behavior that is directly related to a person’s long-term preference for salty foods and habitual salt intake.
“In the Western diet, added table salt accounts for 6-20% of total salt intake and provides a unique way to assess the association between usual sodium intake and risk of death.”
Experts analyzed the data of 501,379 people who participated in the action UK Biobank research for research.
When participating in the study between 2006 and 2010, people were asked via a touchscreen questionnaire how often they added salt to their food with the options never/rarely, sometimes, usually or always.
Factors that may affect the results were taken into account, such as age, sex, race, deprivation, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet and diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
About 18,474 premature deaths (under the age of 75) were recorded during the usual nine-year follow-up.
The researchers found that the risk of early death associated with added salt was slightly reduced in people who ate the most fruits and vegetables, although these results were not statistically significant.
Professor Tee said: ‘We were not surprised by this finding as fruit and vegetables are the main sources of potassium, which has a protective effect and is associated with a lower risk of premature death.
“As our study is the first to report an association between added dietary salt and mortality, more research is needed to confirm the findings before recommendations can be made.”