I am on a low-salt diet for my blood pressure and I am thinking of installing a water softener. Will the softened water contain much more salt than the hard water I am now drinking?
Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:
This will depend on what sort of water softener you install. If you install an ion-exchange softener and you drink two litres of water a day, your salt intake will go up by about 10 per cent. This is probably not a major increase, even if you are on a reduced salt diet. The average person consumes about 10g of salt per day, so if you drank all of your water intake at home, this might go up to 11g. There is a clear link between salt intake and blood pressure. If everyone in the country cut their salt intake in half - from 10g to 5g a day - it would have an enormously beneficial health effect. The best ways to reduce salt intake are by avoiding processed foods, and by adding less salt to your food. If you did these things, the effect of the water softener would be minimal.
Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to email@example.com. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.