By Steven Reinberg
Most Americans should consume less salt, but too little salt can also cause health problems for some, a new report says. The problem is that there is scant evidence for determining exactly how much salt is too much and how little is too little, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that penned the report, which was released Tuesday.
"Studies have looked at efforts to lower excessive salt intake, but raised questions about harm from too little salt," explained IOM committee chair Dr. Brian Strom, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. So, although the report supports current U.S. dietary guidelines on salt consumption, it does not determine whether those suggested limits could or should be lower. "Unfortunately, the message is a mixed message, which is deliberate on our part and reflects the mixed data," Strom said. "We clearly support that, in general, eating too much salt is harmful. [But] we are raising questions about the harm from too little salt."
The right balance of salt, however, isn't known. "As a committee, we did not provide a target range of what the right amount should be," Strom said.
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