Americans love their salty foods. From potato chips and popcorn
to canned and frozen foods, the flavor and long shelf life
of high-sodium foods makes them popular items. At the same
time, more Americans are dying from congestive heart failure
(CHF); roughly 5 million people in the U.S. experience CHF
The authors of this study in the Archives of Internal
Medicine compared CHF cases in approximately 5,000 normal-weight
and 5,000 overweight individuals. Up until 21 years after
an initial diet questionnaire, CHF cases were recorded and
classified based on sodium intake.
Overweight individuals in the highest sodium intake category
(approximately 4,300 milligrams/day or more) were 43% more
likely to suffer CHF than overweight individuals with the
lowest intakes (approx. 1,900 mg/day or less). Sodium intake
was not linked to CHF in normal-weight persons, however.
An intake of less than 2,400 mg/day of sodium is recommended
by several government health agencies, because high sodium
intake can also increase hypertension and cardiovascular disease
Try to eat fresh foods and prepare your own meals, as prepackaged
foods are often loaded with sodium. Start reading labels on
pre-prepared meals, too - you might be shocked at how much
sodium you're already eating!
He J, Ogden LG, Bazzano LA, et al. Dietary sodium intake
and incidence of congestive heart failure in overweight U.S.
men and women. Archives of Internal Medicine 2002:162(14),
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