"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A high-salt weight loss program is dangerous even with normal blood pressure

April 10, 2023 – High blood pressure is thought to be a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

New research from Sweden has now shown that an excessive amount of salt within the weight loss program is a significant risk factor for clogged arteries within the neck and heart area and increases the chance of heart attacks and strokes, even when you don’t suffer from hypertension.

The study was published online in European Heart Journal opened.

The finding raises the chance that salt may cause damage before someone develops hypertension, said study writer Dr. Jonas Wuopio of the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge and the Clinical Research Center at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Salt is bad for heart health since it causes hypertension (also called hypertension). However, the role of salt within the formation of plaque within the arteries has not been studied, Wuopio said.

“Our study is the first to examine the association between high salt consumption and hardening of the arteries in the head and neck region. The association was linear, meaning that any increase in salt consumption was associated with more atherosclerosis,” he said.

The study involved 10,778 adults between the ages of fifty and 64. The research team measured the quantity of salt of their urine to estimate their salt consumption.

The researchers then took pictures of the center arteries to examine for calcium deposits and blockages or stenosis. They also performed ultrasound scans to detect blockages within the carotid arteries.

They found that the more salt people consumed, the upper the chance of calcification of the center and carotid arteries.

The results were still visible even after the researchers excluded individuals with hypertension.

“This means that it is not only patients with high blood pressure or heart disease who need to watch their salt intake,” Wuopio said.

He advises his patients to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization and other groups and limit salt intake to about one teaspoon per day.

“It can be difficult to estimate how much salt we consume, so I advise patients to limit their use of table salt or replace salt with a salt substitute,” he said.

Food is medicine

“The lower you can get your blood pressure, the better,” says Alon Gitig, MD, assistant professor and director of cardiology at Mount Sinai Doctors in Westchester, NY.

“Everyone knows that high blood pressure is associated with the risk of future cardiovascular disease, but what many don't realize is that this risk begins to rise even at the high end of what is considered normal.” “Most people in the United States over the age of 60 have high blood pressure,” Gitig said.

A very good method to lower blood pressure is to eat well, exercise and maintain a healthy weight, he said.

According to at least one study, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) weight loss program, which recommends several servings of fruit and veggies a day with little refined carbohydrates, flour and sugar, has been shown to dramatically lower blood pressure, Gitig said.

“There are two reasons for this. First, fruits and vegetables contain a lot of phytonutrients, which are good for our arteries. Second, most adults in the United States are insulin resistant, and insulin resistance leads to high blood pressure,” he said.

If you eat more fruit and veggies and lean meats while limiting sugar and flour, your insulin resistance will improve. If you do this, Gitig says, “you can lower your blood pressure.”