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A diet with a moderate range of salt does not appear to have any adverse effect on cholesterol levels, according to new research. In an article in Hypertension (February 2004), the authors noted that a few smaller studies had shown that a very low salt intake "can have a deleterious effect on cardiovascular disease risk because of an adverse effect on blood lipids."
To determine how salt intake could affect cholesterol levels, the researchers gave patients with elevated blood pressure 6 different diets for 30 days: a typical American diet with 3 salt levels (low, average, and moderately high) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, which is supposed to lower high blood pressure, with the same 3 different levels of salt. The results indicated that none of the diets had any bad outcomes on cholesterol levels or levels of fats in the blood. The diets with the lowest levels of salt did not have any positive or negative effect.