Most people in the U.S. eat more than the daily recommended amount of sodium. It’s hard not to if you eat prepared food as it’s added to everything — even products that are low in sugar and fat. The body needs some salt to function correctly for muscle health and to keep fluid equilibrium
By 2030, 7,079 people out of 100,000 are expected to have a serious blood sugar concern. While people at high risk for developing a serious blood sugar concern are often told to limit their blood intake, no one talks about salt. Now, new research from Tulane Univ. found a link between serious blood sugar concerns and adding table salt to meals.
“We already know that limiting salt can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, but this study shows for the first time that taking the saltshaker off the table can help prevent [blood sugar concerns] as well,” said lead study author Dr. Lu Qi, director of the Tulane Univ. Obesity Research Center.
The researchers looked at the dietary and medical information of more than 400,000 adults gathered over 12 years. More than 13,000 people in the study developed a serious blood sugar concern. People who “sometimes,” “usually” or “always” used salt were 13, 20 and 39 percent more likely to develop a serious blood sugar concerns, respectively, than people who “never/rarely” used salt.
Salt can impact your weight, blood pressure, metabolism and levels of inflammation. Those are all risk factors for developing serious blood sugar concerns. Researchers not connected to the study have theorized that salt may also upset the balance of gut bacteria, which can cause insulin resistance.
Dr. Qi explained that people who overeat salt may also be prone to eating larger portions or other poor dietary problems. It might be that adding salt is a behavioral sign that someone’s overall diet causes them health problems.
The next step for Dr. Qi will be a clinical trial controlling how much salt people eat to see how it impacts them. As this study is observational, and the information on diet is self-reported, it’s impossible to know how salt might be linked to blood sugar concerns. If a study controls the salt levels, researchers can divide people into groups and see how salt impacts their bodies.
Until the results of that study are known, if you or someone you love is attempting to minimize the chance of developing a serious blood concern, steer clear of processed foods high in salt and keep the salt shaker off the table.