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Article

Sodium and Potassium Content of Foods Consumed in an Italian Population and the Impact of Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet on Their Intake

1
Environmental, Genetic and Nutritional Epidemiology Research Center (CREAGEN), Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 287, 41125 Modena, Italy
2
Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Mikras Asias 75, 11527 Athens, Greece
3
Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, James Watson Road, Norwich NR4 7UQ, UK
4
Head Office, Direzione Generale, Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Via Amendola 2, 42122 Reggio Emilia, Italy
5
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tyler Barker and Maria D. Mesa
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2681; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082681
Received: 12 June 2021 / Revised: 20 July 2021 / Accepted: 30 July 2021 / Published: 1 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Interventions for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction)
High sodium and low potassium intakes are associated with increased levels of blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular diseases. Assessment of habitual dietary habits are helpful to evaluate their intake and adherence to healthy dietary recommendations. In this study, we determined sodium and potassium food-specific content and intake in a Northern Italy community, focusing on the role and contribution of adherence to Mediterranean diet patterns. We collected a total of 908 food samples and measured sodium and potassium content using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, we assessed habitual dietary intake of 719 adult individuals of the Emilia-Romagna region. We then estimated sodium and potassium daily intake for each food based on their relative contribution to the overall diet, and their link to Mediterranean diet patterns. The estimated mean sodium intake was 2.15 g/day, while potassium mean intake was 3.37 g/day. The foods contributing most to sodium intake were cereals (33.2%), meat products (24.5%, especially processed meat), and dairy products (13.6%), and for potassium they were meat (17.1%, especially red and white meat), fresh fruits (15.7%), and vegetables (15.1%). Adherence to a Mediterranean diet had little influence on sodium intake, whereas potassium intake was greatly increased in subjects with higher scores, resulting in a lower sodium/potassium ratio. Although we may have underestimated dietary sodium intake by not including discretionary salt use and there may be some degree of exposure misclassification as a result of changes in food sodium content and dietary habits over time, our study provides an overview of the contribution of a wide range of foods to the sodium and potassium intake in a Northern Italy community and of the impact of a Mediterranean diet on intake. The mean sodium intake was above the dietary recommendations for adults of 1.5–2 g/day, whilst potassium intake was only slightly lower than the recommended 3.5 g/day. Our findings suggest that higher adherence to Mediterranean diet patterns has limited effect on restricting sodium intake, but may facilitate a higher potassium intake, thereby aiding the achievement of healthy dietary recommendations. View Full-Text
Keywords: dietary intake; Mediterranean diet; potassium; public health; salt; sodium; sodium-to-potassium ratio dietary intake; Mediterranean diet; potassium; public health; salt; sodium; sodium-to-potassium ratio
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MDPI and ACS Style

Malavolti, M.; Naska, A.; Fairweather-Tait, S.J.; Malagoli, C.; Vescovi, L.; Marchesi, C.; Vinceti, M.; Filippini, T. Sodium and Potassium Content of Foods Consumed in an Italian Population and the Impact of Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet on Their Intake. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082681

AMA Style

Malavolti M, Naska A, Fairweather-Tait SJ, Malagoli C, Vescovi L, Marchesi C, Vinceti M, Filippini T. Sodium and Potassium Content of Foods Consumed in an Italian Population and the Impact of Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet on Their Intake. Nutrients. 2021; 13(8):2681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082681

Chicago/Turabian Style

Malavolti, Marcella, Androniki Naska, Susan J. Fairweather-Tait, Carlotta Malagoli, Luciano Vescovi, Cristina Marchesi, Marco Vinceti, and Tommaso Filippini. 2021. "Sodium and Potassium Content of Foods Consumed in an Italian Population and the Impact of Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet on Their Intake" Nutrients 13, no. 8: 2681. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082681

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