High levels of salt consumption may increase an adult’s risk of developing diabetes, researchers say.
The new study included data from a few thousand people in Sweden. The findings showed that salt intake was associated with an average 65 percent increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes for each 2.5 extra grams of salt (slightly less than half a teaspoon) consumed per day.
People with the highest salt intake (about 1.25 teaspoons of salt or higher) were 72 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake, the investigators found.
The study, led by Bahareh Rasouli of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, was scheduled for presentation Thursday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Lisbon, Portugal.
The current study didn’t look at how salt might increase the risk of diabetes. But the researchers suggested that increasing salt intake may spur insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Or, it could be that salt intake was related to a higher weight.
The study can’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, only an association.
High salt consumption was also associated with a significantly increased risk of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, a form of type 1 diabetes that develops very slowly and appears in adulthood.
The study findings may prove important in efforts to prevent diabetes in adults, the researchers said in an EASD news release.
Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on diabetes.