The Daily Beet

08 Oct Tuesdays With Jeff: Insights Into Your Health: The Truth About Sodium Intake Levels

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Evidence has shown that excess sodium/salt intake raises blood pressure (hypertension), which is an established risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. In addition, excess sodium/salt intake has been associated with stomach cancer, osteoporosis, edema, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, headache, angina, left ventricular hypertrophy, arteriosclerosis, and autoimmune problems.

A 2009 review, The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors, estimated that each year 102,000 premature preventable deaths are caused by excess salt intake. The weight of this evidence has led health organizations to recommend a sharp reduction of sodium/salt intake.

Reducing sodium/salt intake leads to increased health and decreased medical bills. It also leads to lower profits for powerful food interests, which may explain a number of poorly researched media reports articles that have recently appeared. What is happening is that a comment from a May 2013 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report is being misinterpreted to give the impression that 1) reducing sodium/salt intake might carry some risk and 2) that major health organizations no longer agree on sodium/salt intake recommendations. This has led to headlines like these:

“No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet”

“Doubts About Restricting Salt”

“Report questions reducing salt intake too dramatically”

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Jeff Novick
Jeff Novick

Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN is truly a unique dietitian and nutritionist. With over 24 years of experience in nutrition, health, fitness and natural living, he offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.Novick’s insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in nutrition, with a minor in exercise science.Novick serves as Vice President for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, Texas. He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health program, which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.For almost a decade, Novick served as the Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Aventura, Florida, and as Vice President of the Board of the Directors for the National Health Association (NHA). He also served as the Director of Health Education for the NHA and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences for Kaplan University.Novick has taught nutrition classes at Indiana State University, Indiana University Medical School, the University of Miami Medical School and the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. He regularly lectures at medical conferences across the country. While in Indiana, he created and taught the Nutrition Education Initiative, a preventive medicine curriculum for medical doctors, residents and medical students. In recognition of this groundbreaking project, Indiana’s governor awarded Novick the Indiana State Public Health Excellence in Health Science Award and Indiana State University awarded him the Graduate-of-the-Last-Decade Award.He has been interviewed by Newsday, Parade, Men’s Health, Shape, Women’s World and has appeared on Fox News, Discovery Health, the Today Show and other media outlets nationwide. He recently appeared in the documentary Processed People and the movie Fatboy, which won the Best Documentary award at the Fort Lauderdale and Queens Film Festivals.

  • Lynnette

    Jeff has great information. I always enjoy reading his blogs and learning more. Thanks for the latest on salt.

  • Kitti McConnell

    I am overly fond of olives and sometimes cook with olive brine. What symptoms would I have from too much salt intake?