Link Between Salt And Type 2 Diabetes Unveiled In A New Study

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A new study conducted by Tulane University has uncovered a concerning link between the frequent use of added salt and Type 2 diabetes. Let’s learn more about it!

The research, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, involved a survey of over 400,000 adults in the UK, categorizing them based on their salt intake habits: “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “usually,” or “always” adding salt to their meals.

Over a span of approximately 12 years, the study observed more than 13,000 cases of Type 2 diabetes among the participants. The results showed a significant correlation between salt consumption and diabetes risk. Those who reported “sometimes,” “usually,” or “always” adding salt to their food had a 13%, 20%, and 39% higher risk, respectively, of developing Type 2 diabetes when compared to those who rarely or never used salt.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Lu Qi, a professor at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, emphasized that while the connection between salt and diabetes is clear, the exact mechanism behind this association remains a mystery.

One hypothesis is that salt may lead individuals to consume larger food portions, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of obesity and inflammation, both of which are known risk factors for diabetes.

In addition to the diabetes link, the study also revealed that frequent salt consumption is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) and an unfavorable waist-to-hip ratio.

The study underscores the importance of limiting salt intake not only for cardiovascular health but also for diabetes prevention. Approximately 90% of Americans already consume excessive amounts of salt, well above the recommended daily maximum of 2,300 milligrams, which can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

To reduce salt intake, experts recommend following dietary guidelines like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting high-sodium foods. Alternative flavorings such as herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends can replace salt in cooking and at the table.

Processed foods like pizza, fast food, canned soups, and broths are often laden with salt. Opting for fresh or frozen, unprocessed meats and poultry can reduce sodium intake. Surprisingly, even seemingly innocuous items like bread and crackers contain substantial amounts of sodium.

Condiments such as salad dressings, ketchup, and barbecue sauce are frequently sodium-rich, and even seemingly harmless side dishes like pickles and olives can contribute significantly to overall sodium intake.

In summary, this study from Tulane University highlights the adverse effects of excessive salt consumption on Type 2 diabetes risk, supporting the need for a reduction in salt intake to promote overall health and well-being.


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