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Jun 5, 2012 09:24 AM

Taubes: Salt, We Misjudged You

June 2, 2012
Salt, We Misjudged You
Oakland, Calif.



"And yet, this eat-less-salt argument has been surprisingly controversial — and difficult to defend. Not because the food industry opposes it, but because the actual evidence to support it has always been so weak.

When I spent the better part of a year researching the state of the salt science back in 1998 — already a quarter century into the eat-less-salt recommendations — journal editors and public health administrators were still remarkably candid in their assessment of how flimsy the evidence was implicating salt as the cause of hypertension."

“You can say without any shadow of a doubt,” as I was told then by Drummond Rennie, an editor for The Journal of the American Medical Association, that the authorities pushing the eat-less-salt message had “made a commitment to salt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts.”


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  1. Huzzah, hooray! And duck for incoming...

    1. You got beat to the punch on this one:

      Though that thread sorta got bogged down in a discussion of terminology.

      5 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Right. No need for a second thread on this.

        1. re: GH1618

          I did a search before I posted and didn't find one. In fact, I didn't find a number of threads about salt I'd recalled. I always check first, but have bad luck with CH searches. :-/

          Edit: that other thread is a mess... you have one poster lobbing the usual ad hominems and never reading the science, and another with an obsession over a non existent need to name things that no one else is confused about. Sheesh.

          1. re: mcf

            Some additional citations I found...


            Conclusion. As previously suggested, these observations seem to indicate that strict salt restriction may cause, at least in the short-term, adverse metabolic changes in hypertensive patients.


            Conclusion.— These results do not support a general recommendation to reduce sodium intake. Reduced sodium intake may be used as a supplementary treatment in hypertension. Further long-term studies of the effects of high reduction of sodium intake on blood pressure and metabolic variables may clarify the disagreements as to the role of reduced sodium intake, but ideally trials with hard end points such as morbidity and survival should end the controversy.

            1. re: mcf

              Your thread has the better title.

              1. re: GH1618

                Thanks! When does my award check come in the mail? ;-)

        2. Haven't checked the other thread yet, but here's my take: First, Yay. Second, I smiled at the name of the (anti-salt) research called the DASH-Sodium study. Isn't Mrs. Dash the lady who makes the hay-tasting salt substitutes? (Didn't bother looking up the source of the acronym.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: monfrancisco

            Yes, ironic, eh? When I feel very fatigued and brain dead, I lick salt from my hand (or lite salt with potassium, too) and feel better within minutes. Salt alone also lowers my bp when it creeps up to high normal.

          2. The politics and press will prevail. Not to mention the money trail. This reminds me of the butter/margarine study that lumped these two together, then blamed the bad outcomes on both of them (when margarine was solely to blame).

            1. A link to a 2011 post which I added to the other thread.