Traffic tickets for salt — Does healthy eating
June 26, 2008
What may seem inconceivable, given the Red
Lights being given to salt, is that there is no credible evidence
low-salt diets can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure or
premature death. Nor is there any sound evidence to support fears that
we’re eating too much salt and that high salt diets increase our risks
for cardiovascular disease and deaths. Nor can we assume that putting
everyone on low-salt diets “can’t hurt” and are benign. In fact, the
medical research suggests the very opposite.
To identify the effects of
higher and lower intakes, the researchers divided salt intakes into
quartiles. The raw data showed that those in the lowest quartile
(average 1,500 mg/day) were more likely to be older, not smoke, be
normal weight and have higher systolic blood pressures. The highest
sodium quartile group (average sodium 5,500 mg/day) was more likely to
be men, heavier, smoke and have higher diastolic blood pressures. Over
about 9 years of follow-up, there were more deaths among those eating
the lower amounts of salt.
disease, high blood pressure and deaths were inversely related to salt
intakes: the higher the sodium, the lower the risks; the lower the
dietary salt, the higher the risks.
try as they might, these researchers were unable to show that among the
general population, low-salt diets are associated with lower risks for
developing cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure or premature
as they might, they were unable to show that the highest salt intakes
among Americans are associated with higher risks for developing
cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure or premature death.
Are our salt fears real?