WHO dietary goals can’t be met: Study
The current World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations with regard to daily intake of sodium and potassium do not appear to be feasible contend a study.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke WHO recommended that we consume not more than 2,000 mg of sodium a day and less than a teaspoon of salt.
At the same time, it says that people should consumes at least 3,510 mg of potassium daily, again to lower the odds of heart disease and strokes.
That is a lot of potassium. Potatoes for an example are consider to be a relatively potassium-rich food. Yet to get 3510 mg a day you would have to eat about six potatoes day. Or drink nine cup of milk. Or eat two and a half cups of beet greens — a day, said the study.
The problem is that sodium and potassium are found in many of the same foods, explained by the Adam Drewnowski, professor of the epidemiology at University of Washington.
“Milk has sodium in it, so if you want to reduce your sodium intake you can drink less milk. But milk also had potassium, so if you want to increase your potassium intake so you have to drink more milk,” Drewnowski said.
“So you cannot have a recommendation that tells you to reduce the amount of sodium you eat by two thirds and to double the amount of potassium you taked in,” he pointed out.
Drewnowski and five international colleagues looked at dietary national surveys conducted by the government of the France, Mexico, Britain and the US.
They found that at best, only 0.3 percentage of people in US or about three in thousand achieve the WHO dietary goals.
The French do a little bit better, with 0.5 percent of hitting the targets. The Mexicans does a bit worse, with just a 0.15 percent making the mark. The British did worst with just 0.1 percent, or one in thousand, meeting the recommended dietary targets.
The data confirm that we eat too much sodium and not enough potassium Drewnowski noted.
But they also suggest that the numbers being proposed by WHO and other health agencies are completely unfeasible. The chances that majority of population would achieve these goals is near zero, he added.
The bottom line, said Drewnowski, is that the dietary guidelines, especially global health guidelines, needed to set targets that are reasonable and are backed with more data from low and middle-income countries.
The current WHO targets do not appear to be feasible. These targets can’t be met, Drewnowski concluded.