Salty Habits, Kidney Risk: The Hidden Danger in Your Daily Dash!

Salty Habits, Kidney Risk: The Hidden Danger in Your Daily Dash!

Sprinkling salt onto food before eating it can significantly increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, new research shows.

The condition, also known as CKD, is the result of long-term progressive kidney damage and requires people who have severe disease to receive dialysis treatment. The new study, published today in JAMA Network Open, found that people who added salt to their food, even just sometimes, faced a higher risk of getting the dangerous kidney condition.

Led by researchers from Tulane University in New Orleans, the team examined health data from 465,288 people who shared their health information with a United Kingdom health database called the UK Biobank. The people in the study ranged in age from 37 to 73 years old, with an average age of about 56, and the people did not have chronic kidney disease at the beginning of the study. The researchers looked at people’s health changes over a period of about 12 years and compared those health outcomes to how often people said they added salt to their food: never or rarely, sometimes, usually, or always.

The researchers found that people who add salt to their food were more likely to be current smokers, have diabetes, or have heart problems at the start of the study. People who said they add salt to their food were also more likely to be overweight or obese, more likely to already have lessened kidney function, and more likely to have challenges with housing, employment, and transportation.

But even when the researchers controlled for existing health factors, including having diabetes, they found that people who even sometimes added salt to food faced an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Risk increased in line with how frequently people said they added salt to their food, with people who always add salt seeing the highest increased risk, compared to people who said they never or rarely add salt to food.

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The researchers called adding salt to food “a common eating behavior shaped by a person’s long-term preference for salty taste in foods and habitual salt intake.” According to the CDC, as many as 9 in 10 U.S. adults eat more than the recommended daily amount of salt. High salt intake is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and blood vessels), early death, and type 2 diabetes.

Recently, another study showed that cutting a single teaspoon of salt per day from a person’s diet can reduce blood pressure just as well as taking a medication to do the same thing. Those findings were important because nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, which is considered a risk factor for many health conditions because it can affect blood flow to your heart and other organs. 


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