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My Take On Salt and Your Health PDF Print E-mail

The following article is an excerpt from

My Take On Salt and Your Health


I often get emails about my opinion on salt. There are a lot of people who are confused out there. No wonder! Some say that salt is a plague to be avoided, while others say we need more. Public health officials and the media have vilified salt with warnings that better health will come by reducing salt from the diet, and we will be able to prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. In fact, there is a program called the National Salt Reduction Initiative that is designed to cut the population’s sodium intake by 20 percent over five years.

A primary component of the program is to get the public to lower their sodium intake from processed foods and to get companies to reduce the amount of salt added to these foods. Reducing, if not eliminating, your intake of processed foods is an excellent plan, but not just because of the sodium. It’s very possible people who eat packaged and processed foods get way too much sodium, but that doesn’t mean that salt causes heart disease or stroke, or that reducing your intake will have a clinically meaningful effect on your health.

Rather, the research evidence is not convincing that salt intake is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death. In this article, I’ll give you my take on salt, and highlight how the evidence is being skewed or incorrectly reported to scare you away from eating salt.

Let’s first start with the words of one the last US’s true statesman:

". . . All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And, when we go back to the sea . . . we are going back to whence we came.
" -John F. Kennedy

1)    Modern Table Salt Is Like Sugar: Refined and Toxic
Modern salt is like sugar and many of the oils that are entirely overabundant in the Western diet. Salt is a very refined product that has morphed into something that is so far removed from its original form that it has become toxic.

Modern salt is typically just sodium chloride or NaCl with just one or two other mineral elements. It may have anti-caking agents added such as sodium silicoaluminate. Better forms of salt that I mention in item #6 have over 84 mineral elements, meaning those salts provide a potent mix of valuable nutrients.

2)    Health Recommendations Are Skewed By Surrogate Outcomes

There are two main problems with public health recommendations regarding salt intake. One is that Westerners are typically eating the hyper-refined salt that I explained in #1, while what we should be eating is a natural sea salt that is unrefined. It’s true; you probably shouldn’t eat this kind of toxic salt!

The second problem is that health recommendations for salt intake are based on the theory that a low salt intake will result in lower blood pressure, and that lower blood pressure will decrease cardiovascular disease and related disease risk, meaning low salt intake should decrease cardiovascular and related disease risk. Part of this thinking is true.

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