Is Dietary Sodium Really Harmful?

A Complex Debate Heats Up

Grace Adams

Article Summary

Author: Taylor Wolfram

Source: Food & Nutrition Magazine

Publication Date: 2/26/2016

This article begins with an introduction of a dispute about whether or not lowering sodium is beneficial for people who do not struggle with hypertension. It then discusses the sodium intake recommendation throughout history. In the middle of the 20th century, research proposed that people with hypertension should avoid too much sodium. In the 1980s and 90s, all Americans were encouraged to "avoid too much sodium" as it said in the first "Dietary Guidelines for America." A series of studies called the "Trials of Hypertension Prevention" was also conducted in this time period, which provided data about limiting sodium in prehypertensive patients. In the 2000s, the TOHP conducted another study that discovered a correlation between sodium intake and cardiovascular disease. The study suggested that there was a 17% increased risk for this disease for every 1,000 mg of sodium consumed daily. There were a lot of factors in this research that were missing at the time. In 2014, there was a breakthrough in dietary sodium research. It was suggested that people with the lowest cardiovascular risk and mortality were individuals who consumed between 3,000 and 6,000 mg of sodium a day. There were many skeptics who believed that these studies lacked a lot relevant factors. Finally, in 2015, the American Heart Association's research looked into the complexities of this issue. One side proposed that low sodium diets improves health and that industries must make an effort to reduce sodium in processed foods. The other side argued that people without hypertension did not benefit from consuming less than 2,500 mg of sodium a day. In fact, they may have more issues from consuming this amount of sodium in their diet. Research is still not perfect, though, and neither of these sides' cases can be proven. In conclusion, the author tells us that, as of now, the DASH diet is the most effective dietary intervention for those people who struggle with hypertension.

Article Critique

After researching about my source, Food & Nutrition Magazine, I have found multiple things that lead me to believe it is a credible source. First, this magazine is published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitians, which is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Next, there is a system of editorial policies that the publishers must adhere by. For example, the recipes found in Food & Nutrition Magazine must be calculated by a registered dietician nutritionist. Next, in the "About Us" profile located in the magazine, there is a list of officers. This list includes an Academy President, Chief Executive Officer, Editor-in-Chief, Executive Managing Editor, Managing Editor, Associate Editors, Contributing Editors, Production Manager, Design and Photo Director, FoodandNutrition.org Managing Editor, and Advertising Representative. Most of these leaders have degrees such as a RDN, LDN, MLS, or MBA. The author of the article I used specifically, Taylor Wolfram, has an MS, RDN, and LDN. She is also a dietetics consent manager at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitians and an associate manager of the magazine. Finally, this article is well-written and based on scientific evidence. When I looked up the research studies that were included in the article, I found the same facts that were written in the article. For example, when I looked at the 1980 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, I found that the section about sodium advised people to avoid too much sodium. I also found that the information from the TOHP that I read lined up with the information in the article. Finally, the article was not open ended and had a conclusion that made sense. It said there is yet to be a perfect study to settle this controversy but that this issue continues to be researched. It also gives reader an idea of what the best option for the control of hypertension is as of now.
Wolfram, Taylor (2016). Dietary Sodium Really Harmful? The Complex Debate Heats Up. Food & Nutrition Magazine.