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Dietary salt reduction cuts sugar intake, obesity risk

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By Jimmy Downs

Sunday Feb 3, 2013 (foodconsumer.org)  -- A new study in the journal Pediatrics has found high salt intake increases intake of fluid and sugar-sweetened beverages which are associated with increased risk of obesity. 

Carley A. Grimes from Deakin University in Burwood, Australia and colleagues analyzed data from the 2007 Australian National children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey of 4283 children aged 2 to 16 years and found the association between salt intake and intake of sugar sweetened beverages, and the association between sugar intake and risk of obesity.

Researchers found older children and those from poor families were more likely to drink sugar sweetened beverages.  Salt intake was positively associated with fluid consumption.  Specifically, one grams per day of salt was correlated with a 46 grams per day of fluid after adjustment for age, gender, body mass index and socioeconomic status.

Among those drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, salt intake was positively correlated with sugar sweetened beverage consumption.  One gram per day of salt was correlated with intake of 17 grams of sugar sweetened beverages after adjustment for age, gender, socioeconomic status and energy.

Also the researchers found children who consumed more than one serving (equal or greater than 250 grams) of sugar sweetened beverages were 26 percent more likely to be overweight/obese.     Sugar-sweetened beverages have been associated with obesity in the prior studies.

The researchers concluded “Dietary salt intake predicted total fluid consumption and SSB consumption within consumers of SSBs. Furthermore, SSB consumption was associated with obesity risk."

The study suggests that lowering intake of salt may not only lower blood pressure, but also risk of obesity.

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