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Section 1: Salt and Human Health

This section considers the role of salt in human physiology and the health hazards associated with consuming a diet that contains high levels of salt.


The health hazards associated with consuming excessive amounts of salt (sodium chloride) are well understood, but there is less agreement about the levels of salt intake that should be considered unsafe. Some people consider that today's dietary salt intake is not hazardous to health and that the WHO recommendations on maximum daily intake are based on inadequate scientific evidence. Others say that it is impossible to regulate salt intake in a population of people as if they were laboratory animals, and so the evidence behind such recommendations is never going to be entirely reliable. Instead, recommendations should be reached by consensus and be based on the weight of evidence supported by pathophysiological findings. Most of the evidence has been obtained from retrospective epidemiological studies and it is difficult to determine which came first, the exposure or the outcome. Nevertheless there are accepted recommendations and guidelines on the daily salt intake compatible with good health