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new salt study shows just how controversial salt restriction really is


Healthy Salt

In case you weren’t aware, the government food police have gotten us into troubled waters so many times, I can’t understand how they have any credibility left?  First there was the war on fat (HERE, HERE, and HERE), BUTTER, and EGGS (DIETARY CHOLESTEROL).  Shortly after came the FOOD PYRAMID, which believe it or not, has been incorporated into the dietary recommendations currently put out by our government (HERE).  Most lately, however, has been the WAR ON SALT, which unbeknownst to the majority of the population, has proved itself every bit as ridiculous as the others.  Allow me to show you another example of what I mean beyond the previous link.

A study from the brand new issue of The Lancet (Urinary Sodium Excretion, Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, and Mortality: A Community-Level Prospective Epidemiological Cohort Study) started out by talking about the current salt restriction guidelines as recommended by the UN.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that populations consume less than 2 grams a day of sodium as a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease, but this target has not been achieved in any country. This recommendation is primarily based on individual-level data from short-term trials of blood pressure (BP) without data relating low sodium intake to reduced cardiovascular events from randomized trials or observational studies.”

There is a reason that no nation has hit the less-than-2-grams-per-day target as far as salt restriction is concerne.  Do you have any idea what less than two grams of salt looks like?  It’s less than a teaspoon a day.  No joke.  And this is the upper limit.  The goal is to have you as close to zero as possible (not a misprint).  Furthermore, these recommendations are not based on real-world data.  What do I mean by real-world data?

The study being discussed today has been going on for over eight years and encompasses almost 100,000 individuals from over 300 communities in 18 nations around the world (the lead author is Dr. Andrew Mente, a medical doctor and epidemiologist at Canada’s McMaster University). 

The study has over thirty authors from institutions world-wide and looks specifically at salt restriction in relation to cardiovascular disease.  In the world of research, this study appears to be wearing its big boy pants.  To top it off, a letter to the editor co-authored by several researchers was published in the same issue of the same journal (Salt and Heart Disease: A Second Round of ‘Bad Science’?), echoing the idea behind the letter’s title.

“Two years ago, Andrew Mente and colleagues, after studying more than 130,000 people from 49 different countries, concluded that salt restriction reduced the risk of heart disease, stroke, or death only in patients who had high blood pressure, and that salt restriction could be harmful if salt intake became too low. The reaction of the scientific community was swift. ‘Disbelief’ was voiced that ‘such bad science’ should be published by The Lancet. The American Heart Association (AHA) refuted the findings of the study, stating that they were not valid, despite the AHA for many years endorsing products that contain markedly more salt than it recommends as being ‘heart healthy'”

In other words, there is currently a war going on in the field of cardiology that’s similar to the “wars” I mentioned in the first paragraph of today’s post, with the majority of America’s treating physicians having been brainwashed into taking the side of the AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION.  Mente’s team once again came to a different conclusion. 

Our study adds to growing evidence to suggest that, at moderate intake, sodium may have a beneficial role in cardiovascular health, but a potentially more harmful role when intake is very high or very low. This is the relationship we would expect for any essential nutrient and health. Our bodies need essential nutrients like sodium, but the question is how much.” 

It’s just as you might expect, as well as what you see with every essential nutrient.  There’s a “Goldilocks Zone” where too much or too little is not good; the body want’s things just right. This is why salt restriction is appearing more and more like wishful thinking on part of the people who create the guidelines.

You must be aware of how corrupt the AHA really is (simply click the link).  Not only can you see it in the earlier quote, it’s all over the web.  And it’s not just the AHA.  Big-name individuals and physician groups have frequently proved to be nothing more than hired guns — scientific mercenaries — ready to come up with the ‘right’ research findings for the ‘right’ price.  We see the exact same thing happening with MEDICAL & DIETARY GUIDELINES.  Riddle me this Batman?  Why would the AHA “endorse” products (foods) in the first place?  I’ll give you a hint.  It’s something green that rhymes with honey.

And while significantly higher salt intakes were associated with strokes, what seems to be lost in this paper is that in similar fashion to the way that Dr. Russell Blaylock showed that the adverse effects of MSG could be largely mitigated by supplementing with magnesium, this study showed the same mitigation of  strokes by supplementing with potassium.  The authors of the letter to the editor put it this way.

“The association between potassium intake and cardiovascular events and mortality was independent of sodium intake. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium and have been consistently associated with better health outcomes. Therefore, high potassium levels could simply be a marker of a healthy eating and lifestyle pattern. ‘Potassium-rich diets provide substantially greater health benefits than aggressive sodium reduction.’ Perhaps salt-reduction evangelists and salt-addict libertarians could temporarily shelve their vitriol and support the hypothesis that diets rich in potassium provide substantially greater health benefits than aggressive sodium reduction.”

This begs the question of what the best sources of dietary potassium are?  WHITE / BLACK BEANS, avocados, sweet taters or squash, BEETS, spinach, Swiss chard, or bok choy, WILD SALMON, bananas, HOME GROWN TOMATOES, citrus, and what I’m currently into right now, watermelon (or as my kids love to say, water-malone). 

There are plenty of others.  And interestingly enough, guess what class of medication depletes potassium the worst — often to the point where many taking these drugs must supplement with prescription liquid potassium supplements (the stuff in the dark red bottle)?  That’s right, drugs for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.

Dr. Chuck Dinnerstein’s article on this study (Dinnerstein is a retired cardiothoracic surgeon), A Spoonful of Salt Makes The Blood Pressure Go Down, put it beautifully.  “Our health involves so many interacting variables that it is foolish to believe that any study, including this one, reveals ‘the’ cause and answer. It is more foolish to set policy based on studies ignoring our physiology.” 

Once you understand PHYSIOLOGY & HOMEOSTASIS you see why he is correct.  For Pete’s sake, people used to preserve everything they ate with salt — back in the days when cardiovascular was not in the top ten as far as causes of mortality are concerned.  Furthermore, previous research has shown that salt behaves differently in the body than it does in the lab.

Many of you reading this are looking for a way to get out of pain, get off your meds, and start taking your life back.  In other words, you’re looking to get off the medical merry-go-round.  While it certainly doesn’t have all the answers for every person or every unique situation, be sure and take a look at THIS POST because it will at least get you searching in the right direction. 

And if you enjoy our site and appreciate hard-hitting health-related information without the sales pitch, be sure to spread the wealth by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.  After all, it’s a great way to reach those you love and care about most.


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