Whether due to a love of processed food or soy sauce, almost every adult on the planet likes salt way too much—on average, we consume almost double the amount of sodium recommended by the World Health Organization, a new study finds. Think that's no big deal? Well, researchers are throwing out some numbers that just might scare you into changing your eating habits: Some 1.65 million deaths each year, including from heart disease and stroke, can be attributed in part to a high-sodium diet, and excess sodium intake is to blame for one in 10 deaths from cardiovascular causes. In fact, of 187 countries, just six, including Kenya, Cameroon, and Gabon, keep their sodium intake in line with WHO's recommended 2 grams per day or less, the Washington Post reports.
Two other studies published alongside this one, however, come to a very different conclusion: Salt? Eat it up. They argue that cutting one's salt intake may actually be harmful and, for most people, 3 to 6 grams of sodium a day is just right. As 95% of Americans fall under the 6-grams-a-day limit, the research argues we may not need to pass on the salt shaker after all, WebMD reports. Other experts aren't buying it, though. "Controversy sells," a doctor tells CTV News, noting the studies used "non-recommended" research methods. "It delays necessary public-health efforts, and endangers the lives, probably, of millions of people globally," he says.