Restricting the amount of sodium chloride in food can lower the risk of cardiovascular morbidities. This is the conclusion that Dieter Klaus and colleagues come to in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107[26]: 457-62).

People whose intake of dietary sodium chloride is in excess of 6 g per day increase their risk of cardiovascular morbidities and hypertension. This is particularly notable in view of the fact that in the Western industrialized nations, one in two deaths is due to a cardiovascular disorder and the average intake of sodium chloride is in the range of 8 to 12 g/d. Salt restriction may help not only to prevent cardiovascular morbidities but may also counteract other lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

As a preventive measure, the authors suggest reducing dietary salt intake population-wide. By successively lowering the NaCl content of industrially processed foods by 40% to 50%, people's daily salt intake would be lowered to 5 to 6 g/d per head of population.