Sunday, July 13, 2008

The dreadful peril of salty sausages

What utter nonsense. Our blood is roughly as salty as seawater so any idea that salt is a problem for us is just do-gooder claptrap. If we can't handle salt, we can't handle anything. People on salt restricted diets in fact die SOONER!

The iconic Aussie sausage sanger has been hauled over the coals for its "extreme salt content" in a new review showing the bread and everything inside it blows sodium guidelines. The product review found that one single sausage sandwich at a barbecue contains an adult's daily recommended dose of salt, and double that suggested for a child.

Researchers reviewed almost 200 sausage, bread and sauce products found on supermarket shelves and found the vast majority exceed acceptable salt levels set in the UK. Just two per cent of 44 sausage and hotdog brands and 16 per cent of the 43 white bread products met the guidelines. There were huge content variations across products, with some sausages containing over three times as much salt as others, the researchers said. Dozens of tomato and barbecue sauce brands also were checked, with more than half failing to make the cut.

"That's an incredible salt overload on its own, let alone with everything else you eat in a day," said Dr Bruce Neal, research director at The George Institute for International Health in Sydney. "I know it's an icon of the Australian diet but if people knew what they were eating and what it's doing to their health they might well think twice about it."

Anecdotal evidence suggests the average Australian adult consumes about nine grams of salt a day, well above the six grams recommended for good health. The new review suggests the six-gram threshold would be met by one sandwich, bringing with it increased health risks. "There's very clear evidence that eating more salt pushes your blood pressure up and that increases your risk of stroke and heart attack," Dr Neal said. "You're obviously not going to fall dead as you bite into the sausage but you're going to pay for it down the track."

The study was released today as part of a national campaign to cut salt levels in food at home and in restaurants and supermarkets by 25 per cent over five years. The Australian Food and Grocery Council has lent support to the campaign, and several big brands like Coles, Kellogg and Unilever have begun efforts to reduce salt content in products. "The government now needs to make salt a national health priority and lead negotiations on maximum salt targets for different products," said Dr Neal, who chairs the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health.


Horse drug ketamine to get wider use

HORSE tranquilliser ketamine, sometimes used as an illicit drug for people, will be given to patients in Queensland as pain relief from July 14. While other Australian ambulance services are still trying the drug, Queensland paramedics will be the first to use it as standard therapy.

QAS medical director Steve Rashford said that in small doses the fast-acting intravenous anaesthetic provided profound relief for severe pain, particularly in car crash victims. "It has mind-blowing improvements in complex orthopaedic injuries and severe burns that morphine alone doesn't provide," he said. "It will improve the paramedics' ability to provide extra support to a trapped patient and it will speed up their extrication time."

Ketamine has been around for many years but has been administered only by doctors and veterinarians.


Comment on the above two articles from a medical correspondent:

Ketamine has been all but abandoned by anesthesiologists because it produces an LSD like "dysphoria" - quite unpleasant, and the patients REMEMBER EVERYTHING. It's the only drug a patient said that, if I used it, he would kill me; he had had a bad reaction. Some of this is dose related, so small doses given by paramedics is likely safe. On the other hand, it has been used as a "street drug" so may boe "controlled" in some places.

Salt : Some patients with high blood pressure and heart failure ARE sensitive to salt; it's genetic. Others can eat all the salt they want. But diuretic drugs have greatly reduced fear of salt; you simply urinate a lot. But these food police have ignored an important use of salt - it keeps the bacteria count of food down. (Ancients used salt as a preservative long before refrigeration).

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