Experts increase minimum recommended salt quota for hypertensives in Canada.

Once again the medical industry is abuzz over how much salt hypertensives should consume. The commotion comes hot on the heels of the Vascular 2013 Conference in Montreal, Quebec where top hypertension experts questioned the practicality of current recommended sodium intake levels for people with high blood pressure and those trying to prevent it.

According to Canada’s current recommendations, people aged 14 to 50 should consume only 1,500 mg (about a quarter of a teaspoon) of sodium a day. People aged 51 to 70 should consume 1,300 mg and those aged 70 and above, 1,200 mg. Most Canadians consume 3,400 mg/day on average. The discrepancy means reducing daily intake by over 50 percent.

In America, current dietary guidelines recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. People over 51 years and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should consume no more than 1,500 mg a day. According to the U.S. government agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population overall and the majority of adults. The CDC states that “nearly everyone benefits from reduced sodium consumption. Eating less sodium can help prevent, or control, high blood pressure.”

After much debate during Vascular 2013, the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) — non-profit Hypertension Canada’s recommendations task force, officially decided to “raise the limit of sodium intake from 1500 mg/day to 2000 mg/day or approximately one teaspoon — or about the amount of salt in 3 bran muffins bought at a well-known franchised coffee shop.” The new recommendation, which applies to Canada, will be made effective January 2014.

Explaining the decision, Dr. Raj Padwal, Hypertension Canada spokesperson and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Alberta, said “we feel that raising the limit to 2000 mg/day is a more accurate reflection of the scientific data. This new limit of sodium intake also shows a reduction in blood pressure based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Dr. Luc Poirier, Hypertension Canada spokesperson and CHEP co-chair, concluded that “this new recommendation will make it easier for Canadians to regulate the amount of sodium in their diets.”


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