In the systematic paper published by the Cochrane Library, British scientists have found that while lowering salt consumption did lead to reductions in blood pressure, this did not have appeared to lower death or incidences of heart disease.
However, the researchers concluded that large-scale studies would need to be conducted, as trials held so far were not big enough to show the benefits to human health.
Rod Taylor of Exeter University, who led the review, said: “With governments setting ever-lower targets for salt intake and food manufacturers working to remove it from their products, it’s really important that we do some large research trials to get a full understanding of the benefits and risks of reducing salt intake.”
The paper has attracted criticism from nutrition experts who have branded it inconclusive.
Francesco Cappuccio, head of the World Health Organisation’s collaborating centre for nutrition at Warwick University, said: “This study does not change the priorities outlined worldwide for a population reduction in salt intake to prevent heart attacks and strokes, the greatest killers in the world.”
The UK government wants to reduce salt targets by 15% by 2012.
The Cochrane Library is part of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, not-for-profit, independent organisation, established to ensure that up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of healthcare interventions is readily available worldwide.