A new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association has stirred up huge controversy by suggesting that low-salt diets increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes, and do not prevent high blood pressure. Even so, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have criticized it, which is unusual, the New York Times reports. They point out the study was small, its subjects were relatively young (with an average age of 40 at the start) and that it had few cardiovascular events, so it was hard to reach any conclusions. This study also goes against mounting evidence that higher sodium consumption ups the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study looked at 3,681 middle-aged Europeans who didn’t have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, following them an average of 7.9 million years. Investigators found that the less salt people ate, the more likely they were to die of heart disease.