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Researchers find mixed benefit from low-sodium diets

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have received unhealthy cholesterol test results may think that cutting back on the sodium in their diet may be a good idea, as higher levels of salt have been tied to an increased risk of heart disease. However, new research indicates that low-sodium diets may actually increase cholesterol levels.

A team of researchers from Copenhagen University in Denmark analyzed the results of 167 previously conducted studies on the effects of low-sodium diets. The results showed that cutting back on salt does have major benefits for blood pressure.

However, this type of diet is also associated with substantial increase in total cholesterol. On average, participants on low-sodium diets saw a 2.5 percent increase in bad cholesterol and a 7 percent increase in triglycerides.

The researchers said their findings indicate that the overall effect of limiting salt consumption on heart health may be neutral. Improving blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, but increases in cholesterol have the opposite effect.

For this reason, individuals who are concerned about their cardiovascular health may benefit from talking to their doctor before starting such a diet.

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