While several previous studies had mostly established the link between high salt consumption and high blood pressure, a new research has shown that too much salt could increase the risk of diabetes.
The study, which was conducted by Dr Bahareh Rasouli of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, with support from researchers from other Swedish and Finnish institutions, focused on latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).
Assessing the impact of sodium intake on the risk of type 2 diabetes and LADA, the researchers suggested that sodium – commonly ingested through salt or sodium chloride – could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and LADA.
Available statistics revealed that there is a global prevalence of diabetes, with varying degrees of prevalence from developed to developing countries.
While diabetes affects more than 29 million people in the United States, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nigeria has about 5 million of its population living with the condition. In addition, Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases and is characterised by abnormal levels of blood sugar.
According to the study, published in Medical News Today, the team looked at data from 355 people diagnosed with LADA and 1,136 individuals with type 2 diabetes, comparing the results of the analysis with the findings from a healthy group of 1,379 individuals (the controls).
With the use of questionnaires as a data collecting instrument, which allowed the team to calculate the daily caloric, nutrient, and sodium intake for each participant, the team also considered genetic risk factors for diabetes, and the participants were split into “high risk” and “other”, categories depending on their genetic profile.
The researchers found that each extra gram of sodium (or 2.5 grams of salt) per day was linked to a 43 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. For LADA, each extra gram of sodium led to a 73 percent increase in developing the condition.
With 40,815 deaths recorded in Nigerian adults due to diabetes annually, this study is a further proof of the need to minimise intake of salt and generally maintain a healthy lifestyle.