Be careful with diet salts, they can be dangerous for some

Be careful with diet salts, they can be dangerous for some
Be careful with diet salts, they can be dangerous for some

To moderate their salt consumption, some people turn to diet salts, sold in pharmacies and supermarkets. Manufacturers incorporate potassium instead of part of the sodium, responsible for increasing blood pressure. And this is good since, according to a study carried out in China on 21,000 people, users had, in five years, significantly fewer strokes and cardiovascular accidents than others.

But, as 60 million consumers point out, packaging struggles to effectively warn consumers. A high-risk phenomenon because this type of salt is not recommended for certain patients, particularly those who treat their high blood pressure or heart failure using “hyperkalemic” medications. This can be dangerous because “These medications slow down the elimination of potassium which can then accumulate in the body”, said Professor Béatrice Duly-Bouhanick, endocrinologist and hypertensiologist, president of the SFHTA (French Society of Arterial Hypertension). As a result, hyperkalemia (excess potassium in the blood) can then develop, a phenomenon which causes heart rhythm disorders.

Other consumers should also avoid fortified salts, including those with heart failure, certain diabetic patients, and older people whose kidneys may have difficulty eliminating potassium. Finally, these salts are not recommended for patients suffering from severe chronic renal failure (for whom a diet low in potassium is sometimes recommended).

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So if any doubt remains, health authorities strongly recommend talking to your doctor, otherwise you risk having serious complications or worse. In 2020, for example, the National Health Safety Agency reported the case of a patient who died after using salt enriched with potassium when it was contraindicated. ANSES then deplored the “lack of information on labeling”.

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At the same time, the organization also highlighted the potential danger of the allegation “potassium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure”. A sentence that “could encourage hypertensive subjects to turn to foods offering [chlorure de potassium] and thus exposing oneself to a health risk.

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