by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
Around 2012, and immediately before and after, Health Impact News featured some seriously thought provoking attacks on reigning dogmatic nutritional salt myths. The reports were from several experts such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. David Brownstein, author of Salt Your Way to Health, and the satirical approach of Scottish M.D. Malcolm Kendrick.
My favorite Health Impact News article on the matter was by Dr. Kendrick, who explained that the low sodium diets seem to forget that salt is composed of two molecules, salt (Na) and chloride (Cl). The chemical formula for salt is NaCl, or sodium chloride, which is salt.
Then he flashed a study that warned low serum chlorine was more dangerous than previously considered, concluding:
Low, not high Serum Cl- (<100 mEq/L), is associated with greater mortality risk independent of obvious confounders. Further studies are needed to elucidate the relation between Cl- and risk. (Study abstract)
Despite the growing evidence that low sodium causes more harm than high sodium, and using unprocessed salt has more benefits than commercial processed table salt, the mostly unsubstantiated belief that salt needs to be demonized persists. The revelations of good science are continually crushed by the pressures of public health policy.
The dietary tides are once again turning for salt.
You may remember a landmark JAMA study in 2011 that showed that contrary to what the medical community espoused for years – salt actually lengthens your life; it doesn’t cut your life or raise the risk of hypertension. That study found that people actually lived longer if they consumed salt. Notably, they were not studying pink Himalayan salt, but regular old, processed table salt. (more…)
Great April Fools’ Day prank idea: Switch up your loved ones’ sugar with salt. When they spit out their coffee and comment on the saltiness you can insist that it’s really sugar and that there’s nothing wrong, giving the prank a twisted flair.
But you’d be right – because there’s friggin’ GMO sugar in salt! (more…)
The pharmaceutical industrial complex has had great influence in scientific journals, medical literature and consequently Physicians in promoting the idea that salt is a baddy. Contrary to public perception, the reason the mantra of “eat less salt” has been advocated so strongly in decades past was due to the higher risk associated with cardiovascular disease which increased profits for pharmaceutical drugs. The proof as they say is in the pudding.
A recent report commissioned by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed the health benefits of reducing salt intake and the take-home message is that salt, in the quantities consumed by most Americans, is no longer considered a substantial health hazard. What the CDC study reported explicitly is that there is no benefit, and may be a danger, from reducing our salt intake below 1 tsp per day. What was absent about the report was is the difference between healthy mineral salts and iodized table salt.
It may be that we’re better off with more salt than less, up to 2 or even 3 tsp per day. How did it happen that such standard medical advice drifted astray, then went un-corrected for so long? (more…)
The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.
A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.
‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.
Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries. (more…)
In a recent New York Times article, award winning science journalist Gary Taubes describes the considerable efforts and expenditures made by government public health agencies to support and promote salt restriction, despite clinical evidence which does not support population-wide salt reduction strategies.
According to Taubes, a flood of new research published in the last two years has not only shown the health benefits of salt but also revealed the risks of low-sodium diets.
“There was no disputing that salt is a natural, no-calorie and tasty nutrient essential for life, but the biggest nutrition story in recent years is the proof that following the government’s low salt advice could actually shorten your life,” says Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. (more…)