Thursday, March 23, 2006

Salt OK for health

Salt gets a shake in a large study, reinforcing previous research which questions the value of a low salt diet - and suggests it might even be harmful. I know. One day they're telling you one thing and the next the opposite. The trouble is that with salt, doctors and dieticians have assumed because a low salt intake may help blood pressure, that it saves lives.

A 13 year follow up of 7000 people has found that in most groups, the lower the salt intake, the higher the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke - independent of other lifestyle factors. The study wasn't a trial; it observed people's health rather than tested a proposition, so had potential problems. But the authors say that applies to almost all the studies which supposedly justify reducing salt and that none, they claim, show that a low salt diet saves lives.

The reason for the possible risk is that a low salt diet may increase artery damaging hormones. So while it's not carte blanche for salt, it's probably okay to enjoy the taste of food again.

For reference see: Cohen HW et al. "Sodium intake and mortality in the NHANESII follow-up study". American Journal of Medicine 2006;119:275.e7-275.e14


There is a further comment on the scandalous ignoring of science by the anti-salt fanatics here

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