Advisor letter on salt, American style

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Yesterday we covered a story on a study showing that American fast food products contain more salt than their European counterparts. As always, we pointed out that, for most healthy Americans for whom fast food does not consist of a significant portion of their diet, this is still no cause for concern. ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross also noted that even the officially recommended sodium intake level is much lower than what is healthy for the average person.

Since then, Dr. Judith Stern, an ACSH advisor and Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, has written to offer further perspective on this point:

There are no data to support [the U.S. Dietary Guidelines' limit of] 2300 mg for the general population. I think that it is more than this. There are no studies; the only data that these researchers have are epidemiological and meta-analyses from terrible studies. There are some people who are sodium sensitive. But on the other end of the spectrum, there are data showing that, at a very low level [of sodium consumption], there is an increase in deaths.