Salted cow: Low-salt myth gets busted, one study at a time
Your doctor is probably not TRYING to kill you. He just can't help himself.
See, long before he ever went to medical school everyone gave him the same health advice. They knew this was good advice because they'd heard it themselves all their lives, and I know you have too: Avoid salt because sodium is bad for you.
Well...there was a time when everyone was certain the Earth was flat.
But the earth is a sphere. And sodium is NOT bad for you.
In fact, if you follow your doctor's advice and cut your sodium intake to deficiency levels, you're more likely to HARM your health. And the older you are, the greater the harm.
Experts are standing by...
Welcome to the 21st century barbeque. Today we're serving sacred cow. I'm going to have mine medium-rare, please, with just the right amount of salt.
That's right--just like cholesterol--that other 20th century villain--your body needs sodium to survive.
But will the medical mainstream ever let go of the "low salt/no salt" sacred cow? Not without plenty of whining, kicking, and screaming.
Here's the headline of a recent article reporting on new research: "Study questions benefits of low salt diet, experts quick to dismiss."
Please! They can't even write a headline without allowing for so-called experts who panic at the very thought of having to change their recommendation to slash sodium from your diet.
To the chagrin of those experts, this study doesn't appear in Crazy Fringe Medical Digest--it's published in the Big Daddy of them all, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Belgium researchers examined eight years of data that compared sodium excretion and cardiovascular deaths among more than 3,600 subjects without heart disease.
Their results: "Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality."
And they add: "Our current findings...do also not support the current recommendations of a generalized and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake at the population level."
For me, the word that jumps out there is "indiscriminate," because it IS indiscriminate of doctors to give their patients a one-size-fits-all recommendation to lower salt intake.
And this recommendation hits seniors the hardest. Fearing high blood pressure linked with heart disease linked with early death, they often go to extremes to remove salt from their diets.
The common result is the exact opposite of what they were trying to accomplish... symptoms of hyponatraemia (low blood levels of sodium). But those symptoms are often dismissed because they just happen to be conditions that everyone associates with aging: fatigue, confusion, and poor balance.
This JAMA study is not the first we've seen that refutes the age-old recommendation to lower salt intake. And I expect to see many more in coming years, so you might want to invest in some earplugs, because the whining from the medical mainstream is going to get much worse before it gets better.
About the author
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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