Another day, another salt study. Most Americans are accustomed to medical studies telling us to cut down on our sodium one week, then claiming it might not matter the next. However, every once in awhile a study pops up that seems to not only make logical sense, but has findings that also harmonize with the everyday evidence they're trying to explain in the first place.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory and Harvard have released a joint study finding that focusing on salt alone is unwise. Instead, they claim that other factors-specifically potassium-play a large role as well. The study focussed on 12,000 participants, divided into 4 groups, for a 15 year span. Over the course of the study, 2,270 people taking part in it died. After tracking groups with high salt intake and low potassium intake, high salt and potassium intakes, low salt and low potassium intake, and low salt and high potassium intake, the official conclusion was:
"From a public health point of view, reduced sodium intake accompanied by increased potassium intake could achieve greater health benefits than restricting sodium alone."
What's interesting is that a modern diet of highly processed foods happens to contain very high levels of sodium with minimal presence of potassium. A diet of fruits and vegetables has lots of potassium and low salt; the findings offer a little bit of data as to why people consuming traditional diets of unprocessed foods tend to be healthier than those on highly processed diets.