Salt – to eat or not to eat

It is sad that our governments have gotten involved in dictating to us which foods we can and cannot eat. Because there is so much money in the food industry it is very easy to push the results you want if you can pay of someone in the policy making industry.

We know of many bribes concerning the sugar industry, the grain and food manufacturing industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the heart health industries. All the policies that came out of these bribed sciences have led the human race down a path of ill health and obesity and the respective industries generating billions of dollars from it.

Salt is another thing that the government is trying to reduce as a pretext to human health. However, the science does not back up the claims. Let us look at some findings and see if we should decrease our salt intake for health.

Salt studies

Intersalt, a large study published in 1988, compared  the amount of sodium intake with blood pressure in people from 52 international research centers and this study found no relationship between sodium intake and hypertension. The contrary was shown to be true. People that ate more salt, about 14 grams a day, had a lower average blood pressure than the people that ate the least at 7.2 grams a day.

In 2004 the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, non- profit health care research organization funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published their review of 11 salt-reduction trials. They found that long-term, low-salt diets, compared to normal diets, decreased systolic blood pressure by 1.1 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 0.6 mmHg. These results are minimal, it is the same as dropping your blood pressure from 120/80 to 119/79. This is not a great finding to base a dietary health policy for human salt consumption.

In July 2011 a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people who has a normal or even high blood pressure.

In May 2011 European researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the less sodium  subject used the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease.

Inadequate science

As with the Cholestrerol or Lipid hypothesis, the policies were started based on a singular study and for some unknown reason, once this has become policy all contrary scientific evidences are frowned upon and looked at as heretical.

The salt fear started in 1904 when French doctors reported that  six of their patients with had high blood pressure were salt fiends. In the 1970s Brookhaven National Laboratory's Lewis Dahl claimed that he had  "unequivocal" evidence that salt causes hypertension.

How did he get to his unequivocal conclusion? He caused high blood pressure in rats by feeding them the human equivalent of 500 grams of salt a day. The average rat weighs around 100g, devide that into the average human weight of 75kg and you realise that this study is just wrong.

750 rats would make up a human in weight. 750 time 500g of sal(the salt Dahl gave the poor rat would equate to a staggering 375 000g of salt. That is 375kg of salt in weight for weight comparison per day. Humans eat on the higher scale about 14 grams of salt a day. How is this good science?

Dahl also discovered population trends that continue to be cited as strong evidence of a link between salt intake and high blood pressure. People living in countries with a high salt consumption, like Japan, tend to have high blood pressure and suffer more strokes.

However another scientific paper pointed out several years later in the American Journal of Hypertension,  such associations when they compared sodium intakes inside those populations, there was no strong correlation between salt and high blood pressure. This indicates that other factors may play a role such as the food they eat, the spices they use, their consumption of soy products.

On who's side is the governments and nutrition committees?

In spite of Dahls questionable science and poor results, the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs released a report in 1977 recommending that Americans cut their salt intake by 50 to 85 percent based on Dahls findings – The question is WHY?

As long as there is conflicting data, we should not try to make policies around food that the human race has been consuming as part of their staple. You cannot blame modern diseases on ancient foods. They should look at the modern foods as the cause of our modern diseases.

But that is enough from me, here are some other talking about this subject.

Videos on the question of salt intake

Salt Fix Dr DiNocolantonio

Sodium Myth

Dr Janson Fung

Posted in Health, Nutrition.

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