LONDON - Too much salt, we are often told, raises the blood pressure; but it seems that regularly adding it to food also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. For a study, 400,000 adults who were free of diabetes were asked how often they sprinkled salt on their meals.

Their health was then tracked for 12 years, during which time 13,000 of them were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Analysis of the figures revealed a clear link between salt consumption and the condition: people who said they added salt to every meal were 39% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who rarely or never used it. Those who said they usually added salt had a 20% higher risk; and only sometimes adding it still raised the odds by 13%. The study wasn't able to prove that salt was the culprit.

But the researchers note that adding salt encourages people to eat bigger portions, which increases the chances of obesity and inflammation – which are both risk factors for type 2 diabetes, noted study leader Prof Lu Qi, of Tulane University.

Cutting back on salt is not difficult, he said – and it could have a big impact your health.