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The study, ‘24-Hour Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion and Cardiovascular Risk’, ​found a link between salt intake and strokes and heart disease between the range of 5 and 15g/day – the lower the salt intake, the lower the risk.

Every 1,000mg per day increase in sodium excretion (equivalent to 2.5g salt) was associated with an 18% increased risk of heart disease. For every 1,000mg per day increase in potassium excretion, the risk of strokes and heart disease was 18% lower.

In addition, higher sodium to potassium ratio was significantly associated with increased risk. These associations were consistent across subgroups defined according to age, sex, baseline blood pressure, weight status, and years of follow-up.

‘Robust, global evidence’

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London, chairman of Action on Salt and co-author of the study said: “Without doubt, this robust global evidence supports salt reduction, and will reduce the number of people dying and suffering from strokes and heart disease, which remain the biggest cause of death in the UK.

“Reducing salt is the most cost-effective measure to lower blood pressure and reduce health inequalities.”

In light of the new results, Action on Salt was disappointed that the UK continued to follow a voluntary approach to salt reduction in food products. It claimed that leaving the food industry to self-regulate meant population salt intake had not changed since 2014.

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