Sunday, December 23, 2012

Salt may be innocent

Right now conventional wisdom says that salt is bad for you, and contributes to high blood pressure.  This has resulted in an avalanche of "low sodium" (aka unsalted) products to clutter grocery shelves.  I always wondered about the evils of salt.  The saltiness of your blood (which is also the saltiness of all your body) is controlled by your kidneys.  There are a lot of chemical reasons for the body to maintain a constant saltiness. When the kdneys sense to low a salt level, they retain some salt to keep the saltiness of blood up.  Contrary wise, when the kidneys sense excessive blood salt, they filter it out and you excrete it in the urine.  If things work this way, then the amount of salt you eat doesn't matter much.  Within limits that is.
  Now comes an article in Scientific American supporting the "salt doesn't matter" view.  It makes sense to me.
   Of course the medical community probably isn't on board with this.  And may never be.  And, Scientific American is no longer the gold standard it once was.  Twenty years ago Scientific American had real science articles written by real scientists, and was authoritative.  No longer.  Journalists  began to rewrite the articles and they got so bad I dropped my subscription many years ago.  The article linked to is short, written by a non scientific type, and merely quotes half a dozen studies performed by others.
  But it's worth watching, especially if you find the "low sodium" products tasteless. 


Evan said...

Actually the medical community doesn't like the low-sodium stuff. The maximum 'recommended' dosage is about the minimum salt that a normal human body needs per day.

The guidelines on salt were based on one very small study that has held on for dear life.

Dstarr said...

After they put three stents into me, they ran me thru a "Cardiac Rehab" program, exercise and a lot of talk about proper diet. They did a lot of talking about avoiding as much salt as possible.
Turns out, you are ahead if you cook starting from real food. The processed stuff, canned soup, TV dinners, cold cuts, is where a lot of salt gets added.
I must say, the Campbell's soup folk could ease off on the salt somewhat, I've got to the point where their stuff tastes just too salty for me.