April 3/Minneapolis/American Meat Institute -- Just as Americans have been urged to reduce sodium intake and food makers have reformulated products in response to federal sodium reduction recommendations, a major new study says the low level of sodium intake recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could actually be bad for your health.

The study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, finds evidence that the average daily sodium intake of most Americans is actually associated with better health outcomes than intake levels currently recommended by the CDC and major health departments.

The study, “Compared With Usual Sodium Intake, Low-and Excessive-Sodium Diets Are Associated With Increased Mortality: A Meta-Analysis,” concluded that 2,645-4,945mg of sodium per day, a range of intake within which the vast majority of Americans fall, actually results in more favorable health outcomes than the CDC’s current recommendation of less than 2,300mg/day for healthy individuals under 50 years old, and less than 1,500mg/day for most over 50 years. This study was a combined analysis of 25 individual studies, which measured results from over 274,683 individuals.

Lead study author Dr. Niels Graudal says the results are an important extension of the findings of a major 2013 Institute of Medicine report, which also questioned the CDC’s recommendations but failed to recommend an optimum intake range. “Our results are in line with the IOM’s concern that lower levels could produce harm, and they provide a concrete basis for revising the recommended range in the best interest of public health.”

“The good news,” he says, “is that around 95% of the global population already consumes within the range we’ve found to generate the least instances of mortality and cardiovascular disease.”

The study also found few differences in health outcomes between individuals as long as their consumption remained within the ideal intake range (2,645-4,945mg/day).

“It is essential that this important paper be given careful consideration by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,” said AMI interim president & CEO James H. Hodges, who is submitting the paper for review by the committee. “This paper’s comprehensive look at the data can help guide the committee in making science based and achievable recommendations.”