Cutting back on salt could do you more harm than good, boosting chemicals that are bad for the heart, scientists warn.
The NHS states that a diet rich in sodium can cause raised blood pressure and the government have issued a long-term campaign to highlight the health risks.
But researchers from the University of Copenhagen now claim that cutting down on salt can increase the likelihood of death in some patients with existing heart problems.
An assessment of 67 previous studies involving over 40,000 people revealed that a reduced salt intake triggered a 2.5 per cent rise in cholesterol and a 7 per cent rise in a type of fat that can cause blood clots.
Lead researcher Dr Niels Graudal, said: 'An increase in cholesterol would increase the risk of cardiovascular death.'
He said that instead of people reducing their salt intake they should concentrating on quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and losing weight.
Their study follows findings from Exeter University published in July that concluded there was 'no strong evidence' lowering levels of salt in the diet reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death.
But many are skeptical of the recent findings, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, and say it is not enough to devalue the major benefits of cutting back on sodium.
Prof Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said detailed examination of the latest paper showed there was no significant increase in cholesterol that lasted more than a month.
And small increases in renin and aldosterone at four weeks are similar to that which occurs when diuretics are given to reduce blood pressure.
He said: 'This study, contrary to the authors' claims, supports the wealth of evidence that reducing our salt intake will be immensely beneficial in preventing strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, the commonest causes of death and disability in the world.'
Meanwhile Keith C. Ferdinand, M.D., chief scientific officer of the Association of Black Cardiologists, told CNN: 'This study does nothing to defer the recommendation that across the general population, sodium restriction would have a huge benefit in terms of decreasing cardiovascular disease, and perhaps lives saved.'
According to the NHS adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day - around one teaspoon full - and salt intake can be reduced by being wary of foods such as bacon, cheese, salami, salted and dry roasted nuts.