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World Health Organization Changes Salt/Potassium Guidelines and Effect on Your Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) made some major and long overdue changes in their recommended suggestions for daily intake of salt and potassium. The changes were based on scientific results that showed people who have reduced salt and potassium intake are also at lower risk for stroke and heart disease.
Previous recommendations by WHO indicated that adults should consume 2,000 mg of sodium per day (2 grams) and 3,510 mg of potassium (3.51 grams) per day. The new addition to the recommendation are the words ‘less than’. Each suggested daily amount now contains less than in front of it. While that may not sound like much, to the medical and health industry it is reinforcing their counseling and information. In other words, what was previously recommended is now considered the maximum amount. Anything under that is highly suggested for health and well being.
Another change in the WHO guidelines is the addition of recommendations for salt and potassium in the diets of children over the age of two years. The guidelines are based on a child’s age, size and energy needs. In a world that is surrounded with prepackaged and processed foods, it is becoming painfully clear that our children are consuming too much salt and sodium in their diets. What was previously used as preservatives is now in abundance and children have become so used to the taste that they are not content without it. This is causing an alarming rate of obesity and cases of diabetes in children at younger ages than ever before seen.
Sodium can be found in some of the things we (and our kids) eat every day such as eggs and milk products, but it is also found in incredibly high amounts in processed foods that are common place in the diet: breads, processed meats like bacon and hot dogs, the snack foods that are so popular, stock or bouillon cubes and many of the added condiments like soy sauce. Reducing the amounts of salt and potassium will also help to reduce everyone’s risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is the highest risk for stroke and heart disease, which has become the number one cause of death around the world.
The Western diet is filled with high sodium and high potassium contents and has become more and more popular in non-Western countries. Fast food, junk food and easy to fix processed foods have created two generations of high salt and sodium junkies. The rapid growth of diagnosed diabetic children as well as those with higher blood pressure is giving an alarm to the manufacturers to cut back and reduce salt and potassium in their products. This step by the World Health Organization is the first global effort to bring a mounting medical problem to the attention of physicians, medical providers, schools, parents and care givers alike. Many institutions are rethinking their approach to snacks and vending machines are starting to display healthy choices that include low salt and potassium.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.