Season with Caution: Salt's Role in Type 2 Diabetes

To determine the role long-term sodium consumption plays in the development of diabetes, a recent study investigated the potential relationship between the rate of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the presence of added salt in meals.

A component of salt and sodium chloride is sodium. It is necessary to keep the body's fluid-electrolyte balance intact, to make it easier for various nutrients to be absorbed, and to keep cells functioning. On the other hand, consuming too much salt increases the chance of developing hypertension.

The absence of a reliable measure of dietary sodium has hampered the accurate estimation of an association between sodium intake and T2DM risk, according to the findings published in Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic.


Scientists have previously demonstrated a correlation between the likelihood of CVD and early death, as well as a 24-hour sodium excretion and the frequency of salt addition.

This trait may serve as a helpful proxy for long-term salt consumption. This is used in the current investigation to prospectively detect connections with the risk of T2DM.

It also examines the possible mediation of this connection by inflammation and body fat mass. Both are potential causes of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and are associated with increased sodium intake.

The waist-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), and C-reactive protein levels were all analyzed by the researchers; the last was used to gauge inflammation, while the first two were compared to body mass.

Over 400,000 people who had not previously received a diagnosis of diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease (CKD), or cardiovascular disease (CVD) were included in the current study by the researchers. The subjects had a 12-year follow-up period on average.

Type 2 diabetes and salt

Higher 24-hour sodium excretion, ranging from 3.19 to 3.3 for the "never/rarely" to "always" groups, was linked with the frequency of adding salt to the diet.

More than 13,000 additional cases of T2DM were diagnosed during the research period. An increase in the frequency of adding salt to food was associated with a small rise in the risk of type 2 diabetes.


Men, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, smokers, and more sedentary individuals were more likely to add salt more frequently.

The more salted groups, on the other hand, were equally likely to have higher BMIs and CRPs, yet, their chances of high blood pressure and cholesterol were lowered.

The correlation between the addition of salt and new type 2 diabetes was most likely caused, at least in part, by a higher body mass as measured by the waist-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.

The impact of increased body fat mass on the risk of type 2 diabetes drives the link between the first two, which accounted for 34% and 40% of the correlation, respectively.

Even with their moderating role, increased salt consumption still had a separate impact on the risk of T2DM. Even after controlling for the anti-hypertensive diet, overall caloric consumption, or glycated hemoglobin levels (which indicate chronic hyperglycemia), this effect persisted.

The T2DM risk moved from the fourth to the fifth quintile relative to the first quintile with higher urine 24-hour salt levels.

For the first time, the results show a link between a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and a higher frequency of adding salt to food — a proxy for an individual's long-term salt taste preference and intake.

Their likelihood of being on a diet to lower their blood pressure was lower.

After controlling for other possible confounding factors, those who occasionally added salt had about a 10% higher risk of acquiring T2DM compared to those who did so rarely or never. For those who added salt regularly and consistently, the probabilities rose to around 20% and 30% greater than the reference group, respectively.

Surprisingly, when it comes to influencing the incidence of T2DM, salt addition did not correspond with the baseline prevalence of hypertension or other factors.


According to the study, strategies to reduce salt intake may be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes. Scientists add that the results need to be verified and established by other research.


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