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Speaking of weird food/health news: Salt is healthy!

On NPR:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/...

They allude to Woody Allen's Sleeper - with a future where cigarettes and fat have been found to be healthy, and all the 20th century health "fads" are thought of as superstitious nonsense. It's coming true!

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  1. This is not weird.

    And nowhere in that article, or the study cited in the article, does it claim that salt is "healthy".

    Fact: Sodium is necessary to maintain normal blood pressure in healthy adults

    Fact: There is no study showing that increased salt intake leads to an increase in hypertension.

    Fact: Increased sodium intake exacerbates hypertension problems in those people with preexisting (note: preexisting) hypertension issues.

    Everything else people have said about salt or sodium is really stretching the facts (i.e. correlation equals causation) or simply outright falsehoods.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Actually, only about 20% of hypertensives are salt sensitive... My bp goes down if I supplement salt; it helps to pump bp lowering potassium into cells.

      1. re: mcf

        You are, of course, correct.

        I should have said:

        Fact: Increased sodium intake exacerbates hypertension problems in *certain* people with preexisting (note: preexisting) hypertension issues.

    2. One study is one study. It's sort of interesting, but completely meaningless without tons of support. It's pretty much having one grain of salt, but you need to fill the entire shaker.

      In general, our nervous system functions on salt, so it's "healthy" in the sense that we need it to live. At the same time, it has to be balanced with potassium and stuff. So, like everything else out there, it's fine and even good of us in moderation, but becomes a villain if over-consumed.

      1. The blog has a link to a NYT article that elaborates on the debate surrounding this article

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/hea...

        Some think a long term controlled study is need:
        "What is needed, Dr. Alderman said, is a large study in which people are randomly assigned to follow a low-sodium diet or not and followed for years to see if eating less salt improves health and reduces the death rate from cardiovascular disease."
        But - would you participate in such a study?

        The same kind of research problems apply to other dietary issues, such the role for sugar and/or fructose, or fats (or cooking on PTFE). Controlled long term (e.g. till death for some participants) are virtually impossible.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Such a study would be a pain and plus, probably not that accurate if it's based on self-reported information. I wouldn't do it.

          Plus, who would fund such a study anyway?

        2. I attended a talk given by a Nephrologist who explained that while many people suffer from sodium-aggravated hypertension, some people needs lots and lots of salt. Everybody's different.

          I had a friend who was not happy until she could see the actual salt grains on her food.
          My blood pressure is fine, but I don't like lots of extra salt. I'm the one who asks for the pretzel with little to no salt on it.

          82 Replies
          1. re: pdxgastro

            My husband uses so much salt on food that it's inedible to me. His bp is very low normal, always has been. One size fits all prescriptive recommendations aren't just unwise, they're dangerous.

            1. re: mcf

              "One size fits all prescriptive recommendations aren't just unwise, they're dangerous." -

              Does you husband need that much salt, or just like it? Would lower salt levels in processed foods harm him?

              I wonder if this 'one size does not fit all' applies to things like fructose. :)

              1. re: paulj

                I would venture that not only does mcf's husband like the salt, his body *requires* it.

                1. re: pdxgastro

                  Exactly. I have adrenal function abnormality. During a period when I was under severe stress from infection, I suddenly craved salt, started salting my food heavily for the first time in decades, it didn't taste salty to me. After sinus surgery, I went back to everything tasting excessively salty. After adrenal surgery, a friend could not taste salt, period; she needed more...

                2. re: paulj

                  Some equally recent research suggests that low potassium can be as much of culprit as high sodium.
                  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

                  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...
                  appears to use a similar methodology as the OP article (e.g. 24hr urine test), but looks at both sodium and potassium

                  1. re: paulj

                    I think it applies to isolated/added fructose.

                  2. re: mcf

                    As usual mcf you are the voice of reason. Any plans to see the movie that is coming out this month Fork Over Knife? I'm going to see it. I believe it has to do with the china study where introducing the western diet made people really unhealthy. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

                    1. re: givemecarbs

                      Is this the one low-carb/paleo people are calling vegan propaganda?
                      http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/ve...
                      Though they may share a common dislike for 'processed food'.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Wow thanks for the link paulj. Like mcf said one size fits all doesn't work. Sounds like the low-carb/paleo people are working on their own propaganda. I only skimmed the link for now because I want to try to be somewhat objective when I see the movie. And I plan to wear my new leather sandals when I go, and also I'll munch on some of that stale movie popcorn in a big tub. Might have to go into Philly to see it, can't seem to find any showings yet in the 'burbs.
                        After I see the movie I'm going to read more about the China Study. Any bets on how many patrons at Fork Over Knife will be chowing down on movie theater hot dogs and pepperoni pizza slices? I'll let you know. :)

                        1. re: givemecarbs

                          I think veganism is perverse, but I'm a long time low carber who came kicking and screaming and clawing to the low carb way of life. The health benefits have been hugely rewarding, and I'm starch and sugar free completely, most days.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Yet another one-size-does-not-fit-all thing right there-- I become useless, lethargic and awful-feeling if I don't eat carbs regularly, but the smell and taste of meat makes me shudder and feel vomitous (and has since I was an extremely small child, it has very little to do with liking animals). To me, vegetarian/vegan eating makes perfect sense, but a low-carb diet sounds awful and "perverse." : P I would probably die if I went on a low-carb diet, because I'd starve to death. You're very right-- I think we all need to just stop assuming what's healthy for one person is healthy for another!

                            1. re: HJSoulma

                              I became severely insulin resistant and with myriad health consequences on a vegetarian, near vegan diet. I, too, had a very hard time adjusting to low carb and eating fat and protein (the only two essentials in human nutrition). I felt the way you did for weeks until my effed up metabolism and hormones adjusted. That's a symptom of excess dependence on high levels of glucose. BTDT. Two of my doctors switched from low fat to low carb after viewing my lab and physical results years ago. :-)

                              I think of veganism as perverse because I think of myself as part of nature, not above it, and just another part of the food chain, on top. And because it does not furnish essential nutrients unless you supplement heavily, whereas a protein/fat diet lacks nothing essential. But we each pays our money and takes our chances; your body, your science experiment. BTDT.

                              1. re: mcf

                                I have in recent months been reevaluating my 10+ year experiment with veganism. There is no question that it is difficult, sometimes frustrating in nice restaurants, sometimes painful when a guest in someone's home, and not always even logical (I wanted mainly to have an economic impact, however small, on the factory-farming industry, which I saw as cruel to animals, but I was also reluctant to eat nonvegan foods that other people had paid for). Now it makes more sense to me to focus on just the cruelty issue, and I look for eggs, cream, etc., that have been humanely produced and happily pay the higher price. I still don't eat animal flesh, however humanely raised and slaughtered the animals were, because it has become distasteful to me, not so much because I am philosophically opposed.

                                1. re: Mona Williams

                                  I'm an unapologetic critter eating omnivore, but I don't want them to live tortured miserable lives before they come to my table, nor is that meat good for me/us. I buy grass fed and finished meat, pastured poultry, dairy and eggs or at least eggs from well treated chickens (which meant I left the store without them today) and wild fish. I want my food to be good for me and to meet my needs, to be humanely raised and as non polluting as possible. I found it difficult to sit down to a plate of meat at first, too, and I inched toward my present diet over years til it became starch free and very low carb. Had to for my health, I now love it, but it was VERY distasteful to me at first, too.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    I read what you said with interest. It made me think of something Charles Sanders Peirce said: "To learn, one needs to desire to learn and desire it without resting satisfied with that which one is inclined to think." This seems to be a hard topic to discuss. I sent a piece summarizing my current views on veganism to our local radio station. They were very interested in it until, suddenly, they weren't.

                                    1. re: Mona Williams

                                      I love that quote, that sums it UP. I had to set aside years of belief in the information I'd read and employed and overcome strong bias and personal preferences in order to save my life and health. Fortunately, my tastebuds and appetite adjusted over time, completely.

                                      1. re: Mona Williams

                                        Have you posted your views on veganism somewhere on chowhound Mona? Would love to read them. That is a great quote.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          Well, just in the post a few posts up. I am trying to focus more on humane practices and less on "rules." As I put it in the piece I wrote, I want to be less of a perfectionist. But I also don't want to slight the many vegans I know and admire for sticking to their principles. I have really never known a vegan who wasn't in it for the animals' sake. Well yes, one, who just became a vegan after he read the China Study. He makes sure to tell everyone he is not a believer in "animal rights." LOL

                                          1. re: Mona Williams

                                            Interesting Mona. The very first vegetarian I met was my next door neighbor in Gainesville FL back in the day. She was broke and started down that path because she had the common ailment lacko'bux. She did eat eggs and cheese and goat's milk. My friend who is on a transitional diet but heading towards raw is doing it for his health. He says he is saving a ton of time and money as well.
                                            It's a shame that the radio station got cold feet. I don't know how animal rights got such a controversial spin. As I said, my friend is doing the diet for his health yet he is one of the kindest people I know and an animal lover. I guess the question is can you wear leather and eat meat once in awhile and be an animal lover? I think so. He and I try to take a light approach to life. For example the birds as usual have been very loud this spring. Whenever we notice the singing one of us will shake our fist and holler "stupid Rachel Carlson!" and the other will answer "shut up you danged birds!" Then we laugh like idiots. When we do this in public I hope people know we are kidding.

                                            1. re: givemecarbs

                                              And damn Rachel Carson, TOO! ;-)

                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                I think when you call yourself (as I used to) an "ethical vegan," it has a bit of a "holier than thou" sound. It's almost as if I'm questioning the ethics of other people, which they don't take well to. I try to be more nuanced in my explanations now. Also, I live in an agricultural region that has quite a bit of animal agriculture going on, some of it quite humane, some of it, who knows? I was at pains to refer to the humane producers I know of in the essay I submitted. Still, around here, vegans, and possibly vegetarians, are often seen as taking the bread out of farmers' mouths, especially if they do any kind of advocacy.

                                                1. re: Mona Williams

                                                  'I think when you call yourself (as I used to) an "ethical vegan," it has a bit of a "holier than thou" sound.'

                                                  Well, if you were to refer to yourself as an "Ethical" anything, it would almost definitely, intrinsically, imply that the "other" is not ethical. So, I would definitely agree with that assessment.

                                                  1. re: DougRisk

                                                    I can't consider veganism ethical when those who practice it put their childrens' health and development at risk while protecting other critters. Any diet that causes deficiency diseases and other conditions is not ethical and clearly not meant for human sustenance.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      "Any diet that causes deficiency diseases and other conditions is not ethical and clearly not meant for human sustenance."

                                                      I agree. There have been cases of vegan (also meat-eating!) parents doing harm to their children by not feeding them properly. But when supplemented with Vitamin B-12, veganism is not an inherently harmful diet. Doing it right, however, especially in the matter of providing sufficient protein to growing children, is not easy. The parent who wants to raise vegan children therefore takes on a serious responsibility

                                                      1. re: Mona Williams

                                                        If it requires a supplement, by definition, it's inferior. That's only the most glaring deficiency.

                                                        1. re: Mona Williams

                                                          I am definitely agreeing with MCF here. It is basically impossible for me to consider a diet "ethical" when it "requires" a supplement. Also, it is my understanding that there are no TRUE vegan sources of B12. At least, not in the modern world where all of the B12 supplements are, at one point or another, deriving from a non-vegan source.

                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                            Nothing we do is completely "ethical", if you look from everyone else's view, but we draw the lines at different places. A person can think he's being more ethical by driving a Prius but there's still the gas waste, among other things. Another might think it's more ethical by biking but there's also the environmental cost of producing the bike. You can be more ethical if you chose to walk but then you're going to eat more food to fuel yourself.

                                                            If we want to take a critical stance at anyone doing anything for "ethics", there's also something to criticize. I eat animals that have been humanely certified and there's a lot to criticize there, too. I think people draw their own lines and don't need to be told they're not being ethical for their decisions. Or, maybe the view is no one should use "ethics" as a reason for doing/not doing something?

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              Nothing we do is completely "ethical."

                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                              Yup, there are always trade-offs.

                                                              For example, I wish that more vegans would acknowledge that agriculture kills animals, too, both directly (e.g. getting chewed up by farm equipment or killed as pests) and indirectly (e.g. through habitat loss/destruction, pollution of waterways, etc.) and yes, these are true even of organic farming. There's no such thing as a free lunch, ethically speaking.

                                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                                I think they do, just as we do when we make our choices. I know an animal died when I eat it. I don't have to talk about it each time I eat one, I don't have to talk about how many resources were used to produce it, even if it was better than McDonald's beef or whatever. If I buy a humanely certified steak, I don't need someone reminding me that my shoes were once dead animals, that might not have been humanely treated, nor do I feel I need to acknowledge it to everyone.

                                                                I was a vegetarian for a few years, decades ago, not something I normally brought up unless it was relevant. I was surprised at the times people would attack me for other things I'd do, as if, to be vegetarian we had to acknowledge the host of other sins vegetarians were committing. I had a vegetarian friend who had a banana and was slammed for being a vegetarian while eating a banana picked in a third world country. Yes, he realized it, yes he tried to make better choices but no one makes the best choice 100% of the time but the rest of us meat eaters don't have to justify our choices but vegetarians do. We all try to make the best choices we can, just because someone draws a different line doesn't mean he/she needs to apologize for it because he/she could be better.

                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                  Good points chowser. Sounds like an exhausting way to live that would suck every drop of joy out of life. Glad you didn't fall for it.

                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                    It was exhausting some times (and don't get me started on the comments after I'd ask about cruelty free make up...) because it's hard defending your actions all the time. I realize the extremist vegans/vegetarians turn people off, they turn me off, but most people are trying to do the right thing. Thanks!

                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                    I was a vegetarian for many years, also, and I have often encountered the attitudes you're talking about (aka "Bourdain Syndrome"). I got to the point where I didn't use the word vegetarian because it seemed to set people off -- they would immediately become defensive about eating meat. If I had to talk about it, I'd say "I don't eat meat," but only if I had to talk about it. I remember once a pizza party where there was a vegetarian pizza, and I started to ask people not to eat up the entire pizza, but to leave some for me since I was a vegetarian, and everybody reacted as though I'd claimed the pizza for myself. I only tried to say something about it because meat-eaters will often eat up the vegetarian offerings at a party or potluck without thinking about the fact that some people are eating *only* those dishes.

                                                                    At the same time, there are some holier-than-thou vegetarians and vegans out there, so it's not just that the defensive meat-eaters are imagining that vegetarians are judging them and trying to "convert" them -- some are.

                                                                    My point was not that we should talk/think about this stuff all the time, but rather that it's easy for people to get into the mindset that their own ethical choices are somehow without compromise (unlike other people's). And I have met vegans who never seem to have considered the harm done to animals by agriculture.

                                                                    1. re: jlafler

                                                                      I agree. It could be that I limit my interactions with the extreme "holier than thou" vegetarians (and ardent meat eaters, too, for that matter) that I don't see it as much. As I said when I was in England, and they called me the "quiet" American--there are more of us out there than you realize because you only hear the loud ones. I think the same goes for the militant vegans.

                                                                      I've said in the past, we all make compromises, just by being alive. Once we decide we're going to live, we're saying we're more important than what it takes to sustain us. No apologies.

                                                      2. re: Mona Williams

                                                        Mona it is hard to go against the flow, I admire you for sticking to your beliefs. If I was in charge of everything I'd tell ethical vegans to talk about the health benefits more. People can be selfish and self-centered, I know I can be a lot of the time. I guess I see it as the carrot :) works better than the stick. Shaming people into doing something just doesn't work as well as telling them they will look and feel great. And the end result might still be A Day No Pigs Would Die.
                                                        Just my two cents. Hope I don't sound too cocky.

                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                          IIRC, from the research I read, there are no health benefits, only decrements. In fact, even non vegan vegetarians get no mortality benefit, only less of one particular kind of heart attack, ischemic. High insulin levels lead to a lot more cancer, and too many vegans and vegetarians are eating way high glycemic loads.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            It's hard for me to talk about research when I don't have the studies at hand. But I read enough study results to convince myself that veganism was a healthy way to go, always with the caveat that it be done with some care.

                                                          2. re: givemecarbs

                                                            You have touched on an issue that troubled me a lot during the years I was trying to be a vegan. Despite my wish to be altruistic and other-centered, I knew I was ultimately doing it for myself. I simply enjoyed the good feelings I got out of being a vegan more than I would have enjoyed eating whatever it was. That is selfish too!

                                                            Shaming people is something I never wanted to do, but it is hard to avoid, as others have pointed out as well, when you are talking about your own ethics being somehow different from theirs. The carrot is definitely better. The person who becomes a vegan for health reasons is helping the animals just as much as the one who becomes a vegan for ethical reasons. And I think PETA and PCRM (Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine) are recognizing this more and more in the kind of advocacy they do.

                                                            One other point about carrot vs. stick: I hope the days of flinging blood (even washable) onto people's fur coats and other such violent protests are gone for good. I was saying to my friend just this morning that through my telephone conversations and email correspondence with Cabot Creamery I have become convinced that they are humane producers, and I will be happy to promote them, and others like them, any way I can. That is a carrot too!

                                                          3. re: Mona Williams

                                                            I think of "ethical vegan" as someone who does it because they think it's wrong for the animal, vs, say a "health vegan" who does it for health reasons. They're not saying they're healthier than others, just defining the reason. "Ethical" is simpler than saying, "Vegan because I don't agree w/ using animal products." I'm not offended if someone says they're "healthy vegans" and don't think they're implying that I'm not healthy just because I eat meat.

                                                            And, before anyone jumps on me about veganism not being healthy, I'm not getting into that debate. I'm just saying there are people who believe being vegan is healthier. I know healthy vegans, I know unhealthy ones. I know healthy omnivores, I know unhealthy ones.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              This thread has been very civilized so far. Chowhounds are the best, plus we are hiding here in the quiet corner that is food media and news. The title is a bit less provocative than Forks Over Knives as well. Even there no one is really jumping on anyone. Mcf and I crossed paths in a long locked thread about fasting. Maybe if that thread had been posted in this peaceful forum it could have survived. I'm afraid to start another one about fasting right now but I learned a lot and met some kewl folks.
                                                              At least most vegans and most lo carb enthusiasts can agree that heavily processed food is real bad for ya. Talking the talk is easy, walking the walk not so much. I could really go for a donut about now. :)

                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                If I were going to miss anything, it would be fresh hot NY pizza or bagels. But I really don't any more.

                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                I don't see anyone picking a food fight here. I understand the definitions, but I reject the term "ethical" as inapt, I don't need it explained to me. When I was vegetarian years ago, it was to avoid eating animals, but I didn't label myself, and only shared that fact if someone asked.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  There is a lot of bashing of the vegan/vegetarian diet and I don't want to get into whether it's a healthy diet. So, when I used the "healthy" vegan argument, I didn't want anyone to jump on me for using that as an example. I have no problems w/ someone calling themselves vegetarians any more than calling low carbers.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    Thankfully, that bashing isn't happening in this thread. So far, at least. Thoughtful participants here.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      This thread rocks! So many insightful comments in the last twelve hours. Thanks to all, I'm grateful for what we have going here.
                                                                      I do have one little secret for finding good discussions about diet and nutrition here on chowhound though he he! I follow mcf. I first started reading this wise hound during a fasting thread that got locked pretty fast. Theory is all good but there is nothing like hearing from someone who has walked the walk to keep things grounded.
                                                                      I like what you said about raising vegan kids Mona. My friend and I have recently started going to church every sunday, and afterwards there is coffee and juice and a nice little spread. The men have noticed that my friend always chooses only the fresh fruit and veggies and commented. My friend has explained that he is trying to incorporate a great deal of raw vegetarian foods into his diet and he is taking more and more aggro for this. They asked him, and he isn't judging or preaching to them at all. Last week one guy proclaimed that there was too much fruit on the buffet and that he preferred his fruit in a little smear of jam on top of the mini-danish he was holding. His tone was confrontational. So if my friend is still getting shit at age 27 and in church I can't imagine how hard it must be for vegan kids.

                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                  Which type of vegetarian is easier to live with (if you are not inclined that way)?

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Ones who keep their beliefs to themselves. I believe, for all people, that eating choices are personal and I don't want be around those who push one as evil, the other as good. I've known ethical vegetarians who are not in your face about it, I've known omnivores who insist eating meat is their right at all times, even in others homes when they don't eat meat; and vice versa.

                                                                    I hate when people comment what's on my plate (and I'm saying this as someone in the fitness world who constantly has people comment about what I'm eating or have in my grocery cart,"Oh, you're so good" if I have a salad or "Oh, you eat junk like that?" if I'm having fries).

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      Try being diabetic. If people know you're diabetic they'll constantly comment on what you're buying/eating. I hate it. People will tell me what to eat, or ask what I'm "allowed" to eat. (Answer: I'm an adult, I decide what I'm going to eat.) And people have all sorts of crazy ideas about what diabetics are "allowed." They assume that I want things that are artificially sweetened -- no, I don't! Aside from a *very* occasional diet soda, I don't use artificial sweeteners. There are very few things that are absolute no-nos; most of the things you eat I can incorporate into my diet. It's just a matter of balance.

                                                                      When I was first diagnosed I talked about it all the time, but now I very rarely tell people unless it comes up directly.

                                                                      1. re: jlafler

                                                                        I'm a strictly diet controlled diabetic, but no one ever tells me what to eat. If they did, they'd never do it again.
                                                                        :-)

                                                                        1. re: jlafler

                                                                          I can't imagine the scrutiny there must be, and adding ignorance to the equation? My feeling is, even if you wanted a treat and weren't supposed to have it, it's your decision. Keep personal thoughts off of other people's plates.

                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                          "I've known omnivores who insist eating meat is their right at all times, even in others homes when they don't eat meat"

                                                                          Really?

                                                                          I can honestly say that I have never seen that. And I know a lot of vegetarians.

                                                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                                                            If you read some of the threads in NAF, there have been quite a few when omnivores were offended that they make an effort to include vegetarian food at a meal but vegetarians don't make a meat dish for them when they host dinners. It was surprising to me. If I have a chance, I'll try to post the links but am not sure what to even search for to find them.

                                                      3. re: mcf

                                                        Well put, mcf.

                                                        I've been a vegetarian, and followed the standard American Heart Association diet. And now for the last year I've been following what is known apparently as the Primal-Paleo diet (?). High protein, lots of organic veggies, lots of natural grass fed meat, poultry and some fish. Lots of eggs. Almost no grain, no bread, no gluten, no sugar, limited dairy.

                                                        The results? My insulin resistance is gone. My blood pressure is normal and I'm off blood pressure medication. My blood glucose is the lowest it's been since they started measuring it a decade ago -- totally normal. My HDL is 65 (that's really, really good according to the docs.)

                                                        Like the bumper sticker says, apparently I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian.

                                                        1. re: taos

                                                          Same sorts of results here, except my HDL is 78. :-)

                                                          Congrats to you!

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            Wow. I didn't know it could go that high. I just had mine tested again this week and it's up to 67.

                                                            1. re: taos

                                                              67 is great, too. I've known a couple of folks who got to 80.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                Mine's generally around there -- I think the highest it's ever been was around 90. Sometimes my HDL is higher than my LDL.

                                                                No credit to me; I inherited this (and my low-normal blood pressure) from my father.

                                                                1. re: jlafler

                                                                  I k now someone who's father died at 95 of non CVD causes after a lifetime of super high LDL, of 395, IIRC. The family was in a study of their genetics and it turned out that their LDL was the very large, bouyant, fluffy non atherogenic stuff. You know that's what you likely have if your HDL is high and your TGLs low. My mother, too, had very high HDL and low TGLs and zero plaque in her 80s, noted by a vascular surgeon when she had an injury. I inherited my father's horrible genetics and have to restrict carbs severely to get good lipids results.

                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                      I followed the link paulj provided http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/ve...
                                                      and couldn't stop reading the lively discussion. Both "sides" found some common ground it looks like on eliminating processed foods. I'm still a newb but a lot of people think that the problem with vegans is that some of them eat an unhealthy junk food diet.
                                                      I'm still reading through that thread, thanks again paul, it is fascinating. Another study is mentioned besides the china study that seems to support the viewpoint of the movie. The something or other Miracle. My friend also saw Healing Cancer From Inside Out and found some of the findings very disturbing. I had a problem with that movie that was sad and hilarious. My friend and I had signed up to watch it in this health food cafe and planned our whole day around it. I had to walk out not more than ten minutes into it because the owner of the cafe was chatting loudly with his family right near the tv screen and wouldn't shut up after I made several comments. I lost my cool and knew the next words out of my mouth were going to be nasty so I bailed. The next day the owner asked my friend how I liked the movie. /facepalm. Some vegans can be pretty darn annoying, he he! But seriously that movie http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Cancer-... as described to me by my friends does not paint a pretty picture of the link between traditional medicine and our goverment. If you watch it fasten your seat belts, you're in for a bumpy ride.

                                                      1. re: givemecarbs

                                                        I think the only thing driving most disease protocols in the U.S. is profit, not patients.

                                                2. re: givemecarbs

                                                  I hadn't heard of the movie, thanks for the heads up. The problem with excess sodium certainly has to be considered alongside the absence of adequate Mg and K in diets heavy in fast or convenience foods, frex, and the typical endocrine disruption caused by the frequently accompanying buns, sugary sodas and desserts, too.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    I went ahead and started a thread on Forks Over Knives even though I haven't seen it yet mcf. Some hounds already have seen it and have interesting comments about the film. Interestingly enough the people who have no intention of seeing it are the ones having fun bashing it. Now I really feel obligated to see it. Plus after reading that thread it's getting hard to keep an open mind. At least I'm trying!
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784056

                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                      I just skimmed the review from Ebert. I doubt I'll have any interest in seeing the film.
                                                      It took me years to recover from my whole foods plant based diet. Fortunately, a protein and fat based diet has restored my proper kidney, nerve and metabolic functions, and is associated with much less cancer than a highly insulinogenic diet based on plants.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Sounds like you would like this 'Response to T. Colin Campbell' by Chris Masterjohn, who has published in the Price Foundation journal.

                                                        http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com...

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          Sounds like you have something going that works mcf. I'm still trying to figure all this out, and it looks like I'll have to drive to downtown Philly if i want to see the movie anytime soon. It's being offered in just one location and not til next weekend. Seems like your former diet sucked for you. What did it mostly include if you don't mind me asking? Don't want to make the same choices.

                                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                                            Very low fat, not much protein. Lots of carbs. For some time I was eating Ornish style, that's when I became severely insulin resistant with labile hypertension and PCOS in mid life. Now I still eat boatloads of colorful, high fiber veggies, but no starch or sugar regularly, and my diet is about 50% fat, 30-35% protein.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              "... and my diet is about 50% fat, 30-35% protein."

                                                              [threadjack]
                                                              I am guessing that you already know this, but:
                                                              Bone Marrow is Delicious, Healthy and relatively inexpensive.

                                                              Congrats on recovering.
                                                              [/threadjack]

                                                              1. re: DougRisk

                                                                Thanks. I like marrow, but rarely have occasion to eat it, except for when I make veal osso bucco.

                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                Thanks mcf! I think I tried something similar to Ornish style, I just looked it up, the interwebz is a wonderous thing. I remember when eating that way, I'd feel really full and then suddenly really hungry and tired. It wasn't quite as annoying as the juice fast I tried but it was up there. /shudder.

                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                  I later tried the Zone, but it, too, was too high carb for me, and I went on to have severe reactive hypoglycemia until I added fat and cut carbs way back. I'd get so clammy, weak and brain fogged an hour or so after eating til I cut the carbs.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    My friend has trouble with brain fog when he eats some kinds of carbs. He read the Green Smoothie Revolution and seems to be enjoying a mostly raw diet.

                                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                      It's almost all calories from sugar, metabolically speaking, from what I've seen.

                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                        Hmm I will have to ask him, but I think he includes stuff like kale and dandelion greens and carrots, including the carrot tops.

                                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                          I'm not saying there's nothing worthwhile in it, but metabolically, those all convert to glucose. And breaking down the fiber and body of foods in a blender makes them more glycemic due to more rapid digestion than if you eat them whole. It's just another way of making food processed instead of eating whole foods.

                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                            Also, many things, if not dealt with properly, will provide more phytic acid than is necessary.

                                                                            For instance, if the friend is eating raw Kale, that will almost definitely have a fair amount of Phytic Acid as well as other "anti-nutrients".

                                                                            1. re: DougRisk

                                                                              Doug he only uses one leaf of kale a day but I'll mention this to him.

                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                              Yes I think that rapid digestion is one of the philosophies behind the green smoothie revolution. The body heals itself, and if less time and energy is spent on digestion more time can be spent on healing.
                                                                              I've had some of my friend's green smoothies and I feel wonderfully hydrated all day when I have one.
                                                                              mcf the very first diet I ever tried was the stillman diet. Boy was that hardcore. One of the editions of Dr. Stillman's book had a picture of eight glasses of water on it I remember, because that is what he stressed over and over again. The habit of drinking eight glasses of water stayed with me even if the extreme low carb diet fell by the wayside.

                                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                The Stillman diet ended up harming people due to the absence of fat in it, as I recall. The healthiest foods that prevent diabetes, heart disease, etc. are the ones that metabolize the slowest, the most inefficiently. The smoothies are omitting most of the only two essential macronutrients in human biology; fat and protein, and substituting a diet that converts almost entirely to high glycemic load. You cannot build and maintain healthy body mass/cells/organs without a lot more protein than that.

                                                                                Hydration with plain water is really key, too, for health maintenance.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  Yeah I'm glad I didn't stay on the stillman diet too long. On the other hand, most other diets after that ordeal seem like cake! :)
                                                                                  It's a funny thing about the water, it belongs to my landlord/pet theory of life. I've rented in lots of different areas and states and always I've had a cat or dog, so I've usually had to pay a pet deposit and obviously stayed clear of the no pets allowed apartments and houses. I've never had a bad landlord, possibly because of this. Maybe I've just been lucky. Same thing with water and jobs (so far) If I find that I can't frequently sip on water and quick trips to the ladies' or men's room are frowned upon, I start looking for another job. Pets and water haven't steered me wrong yet. So many people walk around with killer headaches, and sometimes I think they are just dehydrated.
                                                                                  I'll tell my friend what you said about fat and protein mcf.

                                                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                    Pets and water, I love it as a guideline. :-)

                                                                2. re: givemecarbs

                                                                  There's plenty of material out there on the web, may be even in print, on The China Study and Dr. Campbell's ideas. I doubt if the movie will tell you anything you can't learn else where. Movies are better at influencing you emotionally than intellectually.

                                                          2. re: givemecarbs

                                                            BTW, I researched this a while back, and it's not only the urban Chinese eating more westernized foods getting our types of obesity/CVD/diabetes results. Poor rural folks eating traditionally, but without access to fish or able to afford meat are very reliant on rice and suffer from malnourishment related conditions as a result.

                                                      2. I understand the relativity of all things, we're all different. But the most surprising point of this article, to me, is that people with higher levels of salt lived longer:

                                                        "And, perhaps most interesting of all, the increases in salt and diastolic pressure were not associated with an increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes. Indeed, people with less salt in their urine were more likely to die from cardiovascular causes."

                                                        No claims of causation, only a statement of correlation and within a statistically small sample. But it's a sample that counters modern mainstream medical doctrine - that's why it's intriguing. It's not enough to start me eating more salt, but I'd love to see more study done on the subject.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          What if the low sodium people also had low potassium?

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            Doesn't negate the correlation they found - like I said, needs more study.

                                                          2. re: applehome

                                                            There are others ways for your body to get rid of salt, other than urine. What if the people w/ less sodium were heavy sweat-ers? It could be as simple as people who are obese/overweight tend to sweat more doing the same activities and therefore, have less salt in their urine and they tend to have higher risks. Or, it could be that people who are overweight keep more salt in their system because they have proportionally more salt. I'm not an anti-salt person so I've always thought there needed to be more study. For years, I reduced sodium because it was recommended but changed my mind because I worked out a lot and my bp was 90/60 on good day (which is also bad because I get head rushes on roller coasters). It seemed like I was reducing something I enjoyed for no good reason.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              Good point; my husband sweats so much during a treadmill workout that he totally spazzes up with cramps if he doesn't eat some Morton's lite salt before and after.