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May 14, 2013 08:43 PM

Low salt diet may not be so beneficial

So, says an expert panel from the Institute of Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gee, what a surprise.

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  1. Wait, what? Does that mean we were lied to about salt, too?

    1. They've been saying for years that sodium really only matters to the relatively small number of people who have sodium-sensitive hypertension. But that's the way Americans are: things are either "bad" or "good"!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        no that's just completely wrong.

        or very right.

        ehh f@%+ it. I hear wolves have been prowling lately. and oh, one of these days I'm going to maybe see one and yell and yell and yell.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Yep. I think I first got that nugget of information in Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything" which I read 15 years ago.

        2. We as Americans, are pretty alramist and black and white. So if a little bit of denial or control is good, then absolute denial and control is better. The concept of proportional response is a lost art.

          I don't think anyone will change, least of all the FDA.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Phaedrus

            I don't think I want the FDA to change its stance on salt/sodium. The agency does regulate labeling with regard to salt and sodium, but has resisted calls to establish limits on the amount of salt in foods -- e.g. as proposed in the previous IOM report from 2010

            1. When my husband got high blood pressure we cut salt back to almost nothing--it made no difference. Doctor said not to worry about salt--we don't. (And for those who will hop in and talk about all the salt we're getting in prepared foods, we eat almost no prepared/restaurant/fast foods.)

              3 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                My grandparents had high blood pressure, and there are members of my immediate family who suffer from it.

                And like you, dietary changes made little difference (on the margins it may have). It was more about lifestyle in terms of exercise and weight control, and stress.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  yes - "and stress" <em>stress!</em>

                  it's so much easier to ask a simple internal question than get worked up over something that doesn't matter. I see this all the time and it would be so much easier to just say "so my granddaughter has a tattoo and 3 shades of hair and her best friend is a guy and he's gay, but she works hard, gets good grades and they're good people, so what do I care?"

                  I truly believe self-imposed stress is a far bigger factor than most easily ID'd suspects. (and pass the sea salt)

                2. re: escondido123

                  Salt *lowers* my bp, on the very rare occasions it's not low normal. Salt opens the channels for potassium to enter cells, and potassium lowers bp.

                  Folks don't need to restrict salt so much as they need to eat the foods that are high in minerals/electrolytes.