If you plan to eat a healthy diet, then you probably know that you should try to make plenty of vegetables and fruits part of your daily menu, while watching how much sugar, fat and salt you consume on a regular basis. If you get too much of the last three, it can lead to serious health problems. That’s why you might be interested to know what new research has shown Choosing a low-sodium salt substitute is a simple dietary habit that can reduce the risk of both disease and death.
In an analysis recently published in the journal Heart, researchers looked at 21 trials involving a total of 31,949 participants. While caution is being given to how salt substitutes may affect health, the findings showed that whenever the amount of sodium chloride in a salt substitute dropped by 10%, there was also a reduction in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Salt substitutes also offered protection when it came to cardiovascular events, cardiovascular mortality, and total mortality. Results were consistent across participants of different ages, locations, and trials.
“These findings are unlikely to reflect chance and support the adoption of salt substitutes in clinical practice and public health policy as a strategy to reduce dietary sodium intake, increase dietary potassium intake, reduce blood pressure and the prevention of serious cardiovascular events”. the researchers behind the findings explained, according to Medscape.
Actually, Jen Hernandez, RDN, CSR, LDNRegistered Dietitian and Founder of Plant-Powered Kidneys, he says Eat this, not that!“Salt substitutes can be a healthier choice for many people. This is because the main ingredient used for the salty taste is potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride.”
Most Americans can benefit from reducing their sodium intake, which is why salt substitutes are so appealing. “[Americans’] The average sodium intake is 3,393 milligrams per day according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2022-2025, according to Hernandez who notes that “this is about 1,000 milligrams above the recommended daily sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams or less than American Heart Association”.
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Why potassium matters when it comes to salt substitutes
The most common type of salt substitute is potassium chloride, which provides a similar salty taste without the sodium. Not only does choosing a salt substitute like potassium chloride help you reduce sodium, but it also helps you increase your potassium intake.
Hernandez says that “most people don’t get enough potassium in their diets, which is why potassium is considered a public health concern” and “why the new nutrition facts labels will require potassium to be listed.”
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“The average potassium intake for men is only 3,016 milligrams per day. The recommended amount is 3,400 milligrams per day,” Hernandez points out. “Women average 2,320 milligrams of potassium per day. However, the recommended daily amount of potassium for women is 2,600 milligrams.”
With that in mind, Hernandez says that “using a potassium-based salt substitute is a very easy way to get more potassium in the diet without adding more food.”
How to use salt substitutes to reduce the risk of illness and death
When it comes to choosing a salt substitute, Hernandez says “the most popular types are either potassium-based or monosodium glutamate-based. Hernandez also notes that while “some people may experience side effects with MSG, it is generally recognized as safe for consumption and can be another affordable alternative to salt.”
You can use salt substitutes as you would table salt. Consider using salt substitutes whenever you’re baking, cooking vegetables, seasoning meat, salting pasta water, and more. These substitutes won’t always work as a 1:1 replacement in baking, so be sure to read manufacturers’ recommendations for baking recipes.