People who report frequently adding salt to their food are at significantly greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D).
The study was published in the November 2023 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Researchers identified 402,982 participants in the UK Biobank from March 2006 to October 2010 (age 55.1±8.1) who had completed a questionnaire about the frequency at which they added salt to food and who did not have diabetes, chronic kidney disease, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at baseline.
During a mean follow-up of 11.9 years, 13,120 incident cases of T2D were documented.
Compared with people who reported "never/rarely" adding salt to food, the sex- and age-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for developing T2D were 1.20, 1.32, and 1.86 for those who reported "sometimes," "usually," and "always" adding salt, respectively (P-trend < 0.001).
After further adjustment for the Townsend deprivation index, education level, income, smoking, drinking, physical activity, and high cholesterol, the association was attenuated but remained significant, with HRs of 1.11, 1.18, and 1.28 for "sometimes," "usually," and "always" responses, respectively (P-trend < 0.001).
Body fat percentage and body fat mass significantly mediated the association of adding salt with T2D, by estimated effects of 37.9% and 39.9%, respectively (both P < .001).
"These findings provide support that reduction of adding salt to foods may act as a potential behavioral intervention approach for preventing T2D. Future clinical trials are needed to further validate our findings," the authors write.