Over the past few decades, many Americans, in the interest of cardiovascular health, have sought to decrease sodium intake by limiting salt. However, some thyroid experts are concerned about possible iodine deficiencies related to decreased consumption of the mineral via iodized salt.
Overall, Americans, though their levels have decreased in the past thirty years, are still getting sufficient iodine (which is why you’ve probably never seen someone with a goiter walking around), but research suggests that many pregnant women may be deficient in iodine, which is essential for thyroid hormone synthesis. A deficiency could affect infant brain development and lead to neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral problems.
While the folks at the American Thyroid Association are still in favor of limiting sodium intake, they “recommend that all producers of commercially prepared foods — accounting for up to 70 percent of all salt consumed in the U.S. — use iodized salt, a step not currently practiced by commercial food manufacturers. Any decrease in salt intake should not cause a reduction in dietary iodine intake.”
At first I was worried this was going to be some kind of industry thing—and you never know, it could be—but I actually think this sounds pretty realistic. I’d love to be able to find out more about how food manufacturers pick which kind of salt they use. I’m guessing that cost is the deciding factor but I don’t know especially when you consider that iodized salt doesn’t usually cost more for consumers to purchase.
You can visit the American Thyroid Association for more info.
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