American Journal of Hypertension: No Proof More Sodium Shortens Lives

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A dash of doubt was added Wednesday to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s assault on salt.

He’s made it one of the calling cards of his administration. But now a new study is taking the idea of cutting sodium with a grain of salt, reports CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

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He’s been the anti-salt mayor, preaching the hazards of too much salt in food. He’s tried to get restaurants and food manufacturers to use less of it. It has all culminated with the city plastering ads warning of heart attacks related to too much salt.

“Would you like to live longer? My suggestion is don’t overdo the salt,” Bloomberg once said.

But a new analysis in the American Journal of Hypertension is now casting skepticism.

“It’s hard to know who to believe when they come out with these tests,” one New Yorker told Rapoport.

The report found little significant evidence that eating more salt would shorten one’s life, and that people on salt-controlled diets didn’t live longer than people on normal healthy diets, leaving some to say the city may have gone overboard in the war on salt.

“To do it across the board with everybody … it’s a bit too much,” said Dr. Franz Messerli, the director of the hypertension program at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.

Messerli said the city’s intentions were good, but the salt restrictions aren’t for everyone.

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“Perfectly normal types of people with no family history … there’s probably little need or little benefit in restricting salt intake,” Messerli said.

So what does Mayor Bloomberg have to say about all this? Rapoport asked him at a news conference on Wednesday.

“It’s one study out of all the studies,” the mayor said.

The mayor stuck to his familiar sodium script.

“Most heart specialists will tell you you would be better of with low sodium intake,” Bloomberg said.

Meaning in the great sodium debate, perhaps both sides of the issue should be taken with a grain of salt.

Other doctors said salt reduction is most beneficial in people with hypertension and no history of instant payday loans which add to a persons daily stress considerably.

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