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A Salty Controversy

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posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 04:50 PM
Although recommendations haven't changed much since the first dietary guidelines were issued, The McGovern Report, in the late 1970's, one deafening mantra has steadily and adamantly been force fed to us from researchers and doctors to caring brothers and sisters: Eat less salt and you'll lower hypertension and decrease your risk for developing heart disease and dying of a heart attack.

The Dietary Goals for the United States, found in The McGovern Report, was issued in 1977 found here:

The notion that excess salt consumption could induce hypertension has been around since doctors in the early 1900's noticed patients with hypertension had a propensity to eat salt almost ravenously; however, ambiguity shrouded the body of research surrounding the association between hypertension and dietary salt consumption. Consistently inconsistent wouldn't be putting it lightly. That all came to an end in 1972 when Lewis Dahl, a New York physician, clinically induced hypertension in lab rats showing inconclusively that excess salt consumption unequivocally causes high blood pressure. However, according to the data, as Gary Taubes pointed out in his award winning piece titled The Political Science of Salt issued in Science in 1999, the term "excess" was a bit of a stretch:

Dahl's rats became hypertensive only if fed an amount of salt equivalent to more than 500 grams a day for an adult human

Regardless, public health authorities deemed salt a nutritional foe in the battle against hypertension and heart disease despite a lack of consensus among researchers. And over the last 3 decades nothing has changed. The US Dietary Guidelines, issued jointly by the USDA and HHS every 5 years, still recommends that EVERYBODY reduce their salt intake by half (the average American consumes around 9g of salt per day), citing studies that support the recommendation and dismissing/ignoring contradictory evidence (a debate which has become even more enveloped in ambiguity since 1977).

Over the past few weeks, a few studies have shaken the foundation that forms the recommendation to reduce salt intake. The most damning undoubtedly comes from a meta-analysis conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, called a Cochrane Review. Its significance stems from the quality of work notoriously produced in their systematic reviews:

Cochrane Review is a scientific investigation in itself, with a pre-planned Methods section and an assembly of original studies (predominantly randomised controlled trials and clinical controlled trials, but also sometimes, non-randomised observational studies) as their ‘subjects’. The results of these multiple primary investigations are synthesized by using strategies that limit bias and random error. These strategies include a comprehensive search of all potentially relevant studies and the use of explicit, reproducible criteria in the selection of studies for review. Primary research designs and study characteristics are appraised, data are synthesized, and results are interpreted.

When these guys have something to say, it's best to shut-up and listen.

Published in the American Journal of Hypertension on July 6th, 2011, the Cochrane Review delivered a significant blow to the anti-salt constituents.

Reduced Dietary Salt for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (Cochrane Review)

Background: Although meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of salt reduction report a reduction in the level of blood pressure (BP), the effect of reduced dietary salt on cardiovascular disease (CVD) events remains unclear.

Methods: We searched for RCTs with follow-up of at least 6 months that compared dietary salt reduction (restricted salt dietary intervention or advice to reduce salt intake) to control/no intervention in adults, and reported mortality or CVD morbidity data. Outcomes were pooled at end of trial or longest follow-up point.

Results: Seven studies were identified: three in normotensives, two in hypertensives, one in a mixed population of normo- and hypertensives and one in heart failure. Salt reduction was associated with reductions in urinary salt excretion of between 27 and 39 mmol/24 h and reductions in systolic BP between 1 and 4 mm Hg. Relative risks (RRs) for all-cause mortality in normotensives and hypertensives showed no strong evidence of any effect of salt reduction CVD morbidity in people with normal BP and raised BP at baseline also showed no strong evidence of benefit. Salt restriction increased the risk of all-cause mortality in those with heart failure.

Our finding of a lack of strong evidence of an effect of dietary sodium reduction on mortality and CVD outcomes is in contrast to those of Strazzullo and colleagues, who systematically reviewed prospective observational studies that examined the relationship between dietary sodium and all-cause mortality and CVD mortality

Essentially, salt restriction isn't really working. In fact, restricting salt in those with heart failure was associated with an increased risk of death.

In another study published in JAMA recently, similar results were found.

Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Changes in Relation to Urinary Sodium Excretion

Conclusions In this population-based cohort, systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic pressure, changes over time aligned with change in sodium excretion, but this association did not translate into a higher risk of hypertension or CVD complications. Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality.

Once again, salt restriction was associated with higher Cardiovascular disease mortality. Over the past 30 years, there have been many studies published showing almost identical results. These aren't cherry picked, low-quality studies.

What can you take from all of this? Most quality studies on salt restriction show a modest decrease in blood pressure and an even smaller decrease in preventing Cardiovascular death when subjects reduce their salt intake by half. It's also clear that genetic influences can cause hypersensitivity to salt consumption. For those, salt reduction would be extremely beneficial; however, blanket recommendations to the general public to lower salt intake is simply irresponsible.

You can stop here if you just wanted the facts about salt consumption, as from this point forward I'll be providing my own interpretation of the recently published studies.

What kills me is something that seems to have been overlooked by researchers and journalists reporting on these two studies. It's something that jumped off the page so obvious to me that it almost baffling. In the later study quoted, the last sentence in the conclusion read:

Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality.

The Cochrane Review found similar results.

This here, to me, is the tell-tale signature of the real problem at hand. Salt restriction doesn't really work because, typically, the body is able to excrete excess sodium through urination and even sweating. However, certain metabolic conditions can prevent this. Hyperinsulinemia, chronically elevated blood insulin, is present in those with Insulin Resistance and type II diabetes. Well, if you remember from your biochemistry class in school, elevated insulin levels cause sodium retention.

There's a reason why Type II Diabetics are prone to developing hypertension and heart disease quicker than non-diabetics. These studies have shown that low sodium excretion, or sodium retention, is associated with cardiovascular events and death.

Sodium retention caused by elevated insulin levels leads directly to hypertension. It's not the dietary salt. It's elements of the diet that are decreasing insulin sensitivity and increasing insulin levels. In diabetics, a simple carbohydrate restriction does wonders. Low-carb diets work so quickly because the first weight to drop is from water excretion...because insulin levels quickly lower and sodium is excreted.

Researchers are so busy arguing over the symptom of the real problem. It certainly explains the ambiguity and inconsistency in the data when researchers focus on dietary salt consumption.

Anyway, out of all of this, one thing is clear: If you're a somewhat healthy individual, cutting your salt intake by half won't make you live longer. And if you aren't healthy, it really is unclear whether salt restriction is beneficial or detrimental.
edit on 17-7-2011 by DevolutionEvolvd because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 05:17 PM
Psst Psst,
(whatever they say you should avoid or limit, -->> tripple it !! )
And you may stand a better chance of reaching old age.

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 05:22 PM
A balanced diet is key to happiness and long life!

You put in what you want to get out!

Its just common sense isn't it...

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 07:24 PM
I just wanted to say thanks. This is good news in general, and particularly good news to a number of individuals I know who are severely limiting their salt intake....
edit on 7/17/2011 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 11:10 PM
Sodium restriction is still a pretty big hotbed of debate. The latest I've read (and that may change once I get a chance to look over the Cochrane review of the issue) is that there are SOME people who are genetically salt-sensitive, whose blood pressure rises with certain levels of sodium intake. For others, though, their blood pressure is generally independent of salt intake.

Good thread! I'll try to read up a bit on my own when I get a chance.

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 11:38 PM
Yeah, I think it's a build up of salt and waste in the body that's a problem.
I did notice though one time my husband -who is thin and muscular, and fit to look at but who would RATHER live off chips, beer, and burgers one time got heavy into eating Ramen noodles.

His blood pressure shot WAY up. I looked at the ramen noodles and they are loaded with MSG and sodium. I bet MSG is horrible for you. I got onto him real bad and he quit eating them and started walking and his b/p went back down. He wasn't about to take medication and I didn't want him to stroke!

But if you think about it, walking and exercise get you to sweating and your blood to pumping and that helps clear your body of waste.

I like to feel life force in my food. My husband though prefers what I call dead food.
I like to meditate every day. My husband says he can't.

If you look at me, I'm a fat little waddler but my blood panels, cholestrol, b/p ect are textbook perfect according to my doc. My husband is a perfect weight and LOOKS great (everyone says he's a good looking man, because he really is) but good grief his cholestrol and all are all messed up and his blood pressure goes out the roof.
edit on 17-7-2011 by hadriana because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by gypsychology909

Yeah sure mate.

Let's all triple our trans fats and see how long ones life expectancy is.

oh and I guess when they say you should exercise more, we should do it three times less too huh?

Freakin genius!

posted on Jul, 18 2011 @ 12:06 AM
This wouldn´t be the first time that mainstream dietary advice has been misleading or completely false. In accordance with the rise of obesity in Western societies, official dietary advice has changed from centering around high protein and relatively high fat intake, as opposed to its current stance on prioritising high-carbohydrate foods such as breads and cereals.

As our activity levels err towards being far more sedentary, how are we supposed to burn off all these added kilojoules of high-carb foods? Most of us don´t. That´s why there are a lot of fat people around. It turns out that eating more protein based foods was a lot better for people in general. Carbs take longer to burn off, and it´s simply not happening these days. So we´re better off going back to the old dietary advice.

Probably best to take no heed of official dietary advice and just eat what feels best for you. Or stick with a paleolithic kind of diet.

posted on Jul, 18 2011 @ 02:15 AM
When I was in the service they gave us salt pills..told us it would help with the jungleheat on Guam
When I worked in construction we had salt tablit dispencers beside the water cans ..
Then suddenly the dispencers were gone and salt was bad for you..go figure !!

posted on Jul, 18 2011 @ 02:57 AM
reply to post by granpabobby

They gave you those salt pills because drinking large quantities of water without salt (quantities like those that you would drink in a jungle on Guam or while working construction) causes your blood sodium concentration to drop, a condition called hyponatremia. This can lead to seizures, brain damage, and death. Typically, work sites that necessitate large amounts of water drinking (again, construction) now include electrolytes in their water, or they give frequent enough breaks that you're able to eat something with some sort of electrolyte component (even a granola bar).
edit on 7/18/2011 by VneZonyDostupa because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 18 2011 @ 04:15 AM

number one on the list is a real winner if you want diabetes.
high carb diets are the number one reason that America is overweight.
a number of carbs are high glycemic carbs

sugar has a Glycemic Index of 100
Watermelon 103
Potato (baked) 93
Potato (mashed, instant) 86
Kellogg's Cornflakes 84
Kellogg's Rice Krispies 82
Short grain White Rice 72
White Bread 70
Diabetics need to eat food under 55 and no more then 110 grams of carbs a day, 130 grams of carbs a day if you are pre diabetic.(metabolic syndrome or syndrome X)

Number two fat takes more energy for the body to convert to body fat. It does not go straight from dietary fat to body fat. Fats in food are broken down into glycerol and fatty acids before the body can use them .
if you are on a very low carb diet the body will burn the glycerol and fatty acids in place of carbs it also burns body fat at the same time.
this is why you get the rapid weight loss with a Atkins diet

posted on Jul, 29 2011 @ 04:28 AM
Check out what this guy has to say: Basically he states that the wrong kind of processed salt is bad for you, but the right type of salt is very important for you.

Sometimes he comes from an unusual bent, but I must say the products I've tried (in New Zealand) have worked spot-on. I did use a lot of his salt during my last pregnancy, and did not have high blood pressure like I did with my first pregnancy. I also had a 2nd trimester miscarriage a few years ago and lost a tonne of blood, the doctor was impressed with how stable my blood pressure stayed throughout.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 08:58 PM
I suffered from hypertension many years ago. The doctor told me to cut the salt. I did and the hypertension disappeared.

But a few years later, I began taking salt again, but this time, it was sea salt, instead of table salt. I never experienced hypertension from salt ever again, even if my salt consumption has gone sky high, like before.

Recently, we switched to unrefined salts. And again, no symptoms. The difference I see between those three is that table salt is stripped of all the minerals it contains, except for the sodium... and the removal of those minute minerals must cause an imbalance in the salt that affects the heart in a way.

And I'm not even talking about the taste! Unrefined salts is like putting a crown on your meals!

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 09:44 PM
reply to post by NowanKenubi

I've tried some and can't get happy with them. Can you please recommend a brand?

....tiptoes out......

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 10:47 PM
reply to post by angeldoll

You can learn a bit about the Himalayan Pink Salt and others, linked at the bottom of the wiki page.

I couldn't point to a brand because I didn't keep the original packaging... But I remember that the Himalayan Pink salt was 20C$ for 500 grams. So I went for the bag of 2 kilograms for the same price ( sale...
). But this salt is greyish, and surprisingly tasty, nothing like table salt.

The grains are much larger than table salt's and when you throw them in a salad, or potatoes, they'll melt very slowly, if at all. You can taste the meal's ingredients and then, BAM!, a taste from a grain of salt! It really has brought joy to old recipes!

I hope you can find some!

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 10:54 PM

Originally posted by NowanKenubi
I suffered from hypertension many years ago. The doctor told me to cut the salt. I did and the hypertension disappeared.

But a few years later, I began taking salt again, but this time, it was sea salt, instead of table salt. I never experienced hypertension from salt ever again, even if my salt consumption has gone sky high, like before.

Recently, we switched to unrefined salts. And again, no symptoms. The difference I see between those three is that table salt is stripped of all the minerals it contains, except for the sodium... and the removal of those minute minerals must cause an imbalance in the salt that affects the heart in a way.

And I'm not even talking about the taste! Unrefined salts is like putting a crown on your meals!

So what is the difference between table salt and sea salt?
Salt is made from the sea by evaporation or it is mined in the earth from ancient
sea beds that evaporated. Both are technically sea salt.

Now in theory one could take either salt and then find a way to extract the minerals from it but
that would add an expensive step. So is there really any difference?
Below article says no.

By Ground Up Strength Sea salt is often touted as a more healthful alternative to ordinary table salt. Many food products are now proclaiming the use of sea salt on their labels and health food stores have long promoted it's healthful benefits. Although some of today's food advertising concerning sea salt is in regards to it's giving a better flavor to the food products there is no doubt an additional incentive to take advantage of the public's perception of sea salt as more nutritious and health giving. Ordinary table salt, the salt such as Morton's which we are all familiar with, is sodium chloride (NaCl) and is commonly derived from halite (rock salt). Salt has long been of great importance, not only to provide sodium in our diets and flavor to our dishes, but also for food preservation and chemical production. In fact, table salt only accounts for about one percent of all the salt used and the rest is used to produce chloride, de-ice roads in winter, agriculture, food processing, and various other manufacturing processes. A great amount of salt is used in the dairy industry, for tanning leathers, fertilizer, caustic soda and soda ash. Salt can also be mined by the evaporation of sea water. For instance, around the coast, sea water can be pumped into shallow ponds which are allowed to evaporate so that the salt crystallizes on the floor of the pond to be collected later. Alternatively it can be taken from natural inland "brine springs" which occur where rock salt is close to the surface and water moving through the ground dissolves the salt and forms brine streams. It is also mined, as mentioned, from underground deposits as rock salt, which accounts for about one third of salt production in the United States. These halite deposits come from the seas of long ago (millions of years) which have dried up and left their salt behind in huge amounts. Besides evaporation of sea water and rock salt, lake brines, and the salt crust from dry lake beds make up the rest of salt production. RSS feed-icon-14x14.png Main GUS Feed feed-icon-14x14.png New Forum Threads feed-icon-14x14.png RSS By Email (What is RSS?) Recommend To Your Google Network More Food Articles Changes in Intakes of Total and Added Sugar and their Contribution to Energy Intake in the U.S. How To Read Food Labels salt production from Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia image by Ricampelo via wikimedia When sea water evaporates a brine of sodium chloride (NaCl) forms, most of the other minerals precipitate out, and the salt crystals fall to the bottom of the solution. Although some additional trace minerals may be left in sea salt products, such as magnesium and iodide, there is no additional health benefit and the compositions of most salt sold for human consumption is close enough to identical to be called identical. As well, table salt has long been fortified with iodide so any iodide in sea salt products cannot be considered to be significant. As you may have gathered, all salt can be called "sea salt" since all salt, at one point, came from the sea. And, in fact, many of the products, sold as sea salt in your grocery store may well be the same exact salt that is sold as "salt" under another brand name. It may well have been supplied by the same company, coming from the same place. Morton salt, which most people are familiar with, comes mostly from land bound salt mining, except in California, where it is sea salt, sold as the same product. Morton does not label salt that comes from the land as sea salt, as some other brands do. But as stated, all salt is technically sea salt. 3 A 1992 article in Vegetarian Times magazine by Sally Cullen, "Salient Points About Salt", reports that a senior lab technician for Cargil, Inc., a major salt producer, supplies salt to both natural-food companies and grocery stores. The only difference in the salts supplied, according to the technician, is the type of anti-caking additive used. The "natural" salts use magnesium carbonate and the grocery store salts use silica aluminate. Each company simply put's its own brand name on the product. According to the same article, Hain brand sea salt and Safeway house brand salt are the same salt, from the same producer, evaporating pans, and bin. 3 The consumer needs to be aware that unless a sea salt product is known to come from a particular location and the salt from this location is known to possess certain attributes, such as trace minerals or other deposits, which give it a unique flavor in cooking, there is no need to pay more for a product sold as "Sea Salt". It is frequently reported that sea salt is "less refined" than ordinary salt and while this is sometimes true it is not always the case. In the U.S. all salt sold for human consumption must contain at least 97.5 percent sodium chloride, whether labeled sea salt or not. It must be free from heavy metal contaminants as well. This, essentially, means that all salts sold in the U.S. MUST be refined to some extent. A few different trace minerals may be present, here or there, depending on the salt's origin, and these may contribute to flavor. But there is no significant nutritional difference whatsoever. Do not rely on sea salt as a way to ensure consumption of trace minerals. This would contribute nothing measurable except excess sodium, at best. Table salt contains around 21,00 to 23,00 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon, depending on the brand and degree of refinement. The flavors and odors from a particular salt may be important to cooks, and various sea salts can make a difference in this regard. Some salts have other minerals added to them as well, such as Hawaiian sea salt which has Alaea, a volcanic red clay high in iron oxide, added to it. 4 Some other sea salts are Black salt, Kala Namak, or Sanchal, from India, which has a pink gray color and a sulfurous odor. Sel Gris from France, also called Celtic salt or Grey salt, which is gray to light purple because of it's clay content. Other salts may be more or less refined depending and have slightly different flavor depending on the region they come from. See this overview of different salts for more information. Don't believe the claims you may read about the "healthful" benefits of sea salt versus "unnatural" table salt. These claims are imaginary and based on nothing but the typical concept that anything that sounds more natural must be better for you. Choose your salt based on it's properties for your dishes, nothing else.

posted on Aug, 2 2011 @ 11:27 PM
reply to post by RRokkyy

I would say the difference is between refined and unrefined salt. I will have to take a look again at pages I read a few months ago! LOL And about the "step" you mention, many reasons can be presented. Salt is used not only for consumption, but for industrial purposes. What if it was recuperation? I mean for table salts. It has been cleaned of its other chemicals... Why?
Like synthetic vanillin can be produced by many sources, like in the process of making paper from wood... Vanillin

Later it was synthesized from lignin-containing sulfite liquor, a byproduct of wood pulp processing in paper manufacture.

It's not salt, but it demonstrates my point of view. It seems it is cheaper to recuperate those by-products, and eat them, than to grow a field large enough to produce the necessary vanillin needed.

What if the change in salt was to cause hypertension? Of course the industry would say there was nothing different between table salts and unrefined ones. Would they say the contrary? Of course not! Since the beginning of the chemical era, we have been fed tons of chemicals and told it was as good, or better than the real thing.

I'm no scientist, but I can say that the change of salt has eliminated my hypertension. And it comes back when I eat table salt for a few days, so..

I will be looking again for some more info on salts in the coming days!

posted on Aug, 3 2011 @ 06:16 PM
reply to post by NowanKenubi

Do you think it's possible that all those years ago your metabolism function differently and that perhaps that contributed the difference in salt sensitivity?

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