People who consume an extra 2.5 grams of salt a day have a 43 per cent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Scandinavian researchers have claimed.
The study also found that each extra 2.5g of salt, or a gram of sodium, led to a 73 per cent increased risk of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), a form of type 1 diabetes which develops later in adulthood.
But, while an association was confirmed between sodium intake and type 2 diabetes, as well as LADA, there is no evidence to suggest causality.
While sodium is an important mineral for the human body, the most common form of which is table salt, research has shown that higher levels of salt in processed foods could be detrimental to public health.
Previous research has also suggested that increased sodium consumption can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, but no studies have examined the impact of sodium intake on LADA risk.
Scientists from Sweden’s Institute of Environmental Medicine and Karolinska Institutet analysed details from previous studies, comparing 355 people with LADA and 1,136 with type 2 diabetes with 1,379 people who did not have either condition. Data about the diets of the participants, including their daily sodium consumptions, was collected using surveys. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes and LADA were also taken into account and people were divided into ‘high risk’ and ‘other’ categories based on the genetic profile they possessed.
Participants were then put into groups based on sodium consumption: under 2.4g, medium 2.4 to 3.15g and above 3.15g. Those in the higher group had a 58 per cent increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to people in the lower group.
Those with a high genetic risk of diabetes and who had a high daily sodium intake were almost four times as likely to develop LADA compared to those with a low daily sodium intake.
The researchers concluded: “These findings may have important implications in the primary prevention of diabetes with adult onset.”
The study was presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual conference in Lisbon.

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