Potassium in the diet: I know that too... - British Heart Fou...

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Potassium in the diet

Mart25 profile image
11 Replies

I know that too much salt in the diet is not good for you, so for many many years I've been using (sparingly) so-called "50% sodium salt, which is a mixture of 50% sodium chloride and 50% potassium chloride. It's readily available in supermarkets as a means of reducing your sodium intake. I've now had a bypass operation and I'm wondering if anyone knows whether it's wise to continue using the "50% sodium salt" or is there some extra heart risk associated with the small additional amounts of potassium in my diet? I am aware that some patients with kidney problems must control their potassium intake - but I'm not aware of any heart issues with potassium. Does anyone know?

11 Replies
RufusScamp profile image
RufusScamp

I think it depends what medication you are on. I was told to cut down on potassium, but it seems to be in all the foods I consider healthy. Are you in touch with a coronary team since your bypass? They would be the best people to advise you.

Mart25 profile image
Mart25 in reply to RufusScamp

Thanks for your reply. I have just contacted my cardio rehab team by email. They replied within 5mins (I'm impressed!) to recommend I should focus on reducing salt overall, and reminding me that most dietary salt is hidden in processed foods (which we all know, I'm sure). They point out that lots of foods are rich in potassium and so they don't recommend lo-sodium salt in case it creates an imbalance. I think I have my answer. Thanks.

RufusScamp profile image
RufusScamp in reply to Mart25

Glad you had such good service. I just try to eat a variety of fresh food, and avoid the over-processed stuff (apart from bacon)!

High serum potassium levels can cause fatal cardiac arrhythmia. Various medications and renal failure are the usual causes. Non prescription K supplements seem pointless and potentially dangerous.

Mart25 profile image
Mart25 in reply to

Just for clarity, my question was about using Lo-salt to replace a small amount of ordinary salt in the diet with potassium chloride in order to reduce sodium intake and deliver blood pressure benefits. I agree that K supplements are unnecessary - a banana will do the job.

lettingoffsteam profile image
lettingoffsteam

I would check with your GP regarding your own risk and your potassium levels in the latest blood screening you had. Whilst high levels of potassium are potentially risky many people have low potassium, as I do due to taking ramipril. I don't use lo salt but try to eat foods rich in potassium .That said the Blood Pressure Association endorses the use of Lo Salt as an alternative to table salt. So overall it's best to check.

If you stick to freshly cooked food and avoid processed rubbish like the plague you won't need to worry about excess salt? Just look at the traffic light system on foods, some of them (Pizza springs to mind) have eye watering quantities of both salt and carbs, including so called low fat healthy options.

Mart25 profile image
Mart25 in reply to

Yes, I agree. I'm a bit obsessed with looking at labels. This morning's bran flakes had 0.2g of salt per portion. It just seems unnecessary.

in reply to Mart25

I believe you do need salt in modest amounts for flavouring and preserving. if you look at a 6g pile (the RDA) it's actually quite a lot. It's the processed food that contains loads of it. Personally I would steer clear of supplements and replacement's like the potassium that was mentioned. Also, if you want to bring out flavour in things you can squeeze a fresh lime into it rather than using salt, especially in curries and so on.

Curlyman83 profile image
Curlyman83 in reply to

It’s actually the “low fat” options that tend to be more unhealthy - that remove fat from the food (which makes it taste nice) and then replace it with shed loads of salt and worse sugar!

I avoid low fat foods like the plague m.

Curlyman83 profile image
Curlyman83 in reply to Curlyman83

Dunno what that ‘m’ was all about 😂

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