People like to eat salt. So at the mere appearance of a controversy about whether adding salt is bad for your health, salt wins. As a result, millions of people continue to pay the price for adding salt to their diet. We’re talking about millions of people continuing to salt their way towards disease and disability (including heart failure, osteoporosis, obesity and memory loss etc.), dysfunction, pain and suffering, and ultimately, premature death.
Recently a journal article has attracted the attention of salt manufacturers and those looking for an excuse to continue their salt habit. The researchers found an unexplained slight increase in triglycerides among people placed on a low salt diet. Since elevated triglycerides have been linked to increases in cardiovascular disease, you can imagine some of the headlines that feasted on this news.
Experts in the field—scientists who have spent decades, if not their entire lifetime. researching this subject—have weighed in to say that this previously unreported finding is simply a short-term adjustment of the body. But the naysayers want to interpret this news as:
• “Well triglycerides can be bad for the arteries. So the salt is actually
preventing heart attacks and strokes.”
• “Salt is good for your heart after all.”
Now, wait just a minute. When someone is trying to quit smoking, it is common to get nervous and be anxious. It is not uncommon to see the blood pressure go up during that time. That does not mean that smoking is a good way to keep your blood pressure down or to keep your mind straight.
Over a short period of time, you may not see the benefits of quitting smoking or cutting salt in your diet. It takes decades of salt intake to cause all the damage and it will take a long period of time to show the improvement after you overcome this habit. So by far the biggest limitation of the present study in question is that the study period was very short, a common problem with the so-called controversial papers.
Decades of research from institutions worldwide has proven that adding salt to your food causes high blood pressure. That’s no longer up for debate. Indeed, the above-mentioned news article did not question this association.
There is also no question about the many ways high blood pressure can hurt you. Just ask any medical professional about the mountain of evidence over the last several decades which leaves no doubt that high blood pressure needs to be prevented.
If anything, new information is raising further concerns at a dramatic pace about how salt contributes to even more health problems. Heart failure, for example, has become the number one reason for the hospitalization of people 65 years of age and older. An enlarged heart from years of fighting high blood pressure is a major contributor to this misery.
Then there’s memory loss, currently the fastest growing health problem and one that is worrying many health care professional and planners. The Alzheimer’s Society stated that having high blood pressure increases the risk by SIX FOLD, not six percent. This one issue alone should motivate anybody to watch his or her salt intake.
These points were not even mentioned in the aforementioned journal article. That oversight could put millions of people in the harm’s way.
Those people encouraging the use of salt are counting on the fact that a double-blind, randomized, controlled study is not feasible because of the damages caused by salt consumption. Can you imagine a study where for at least 50 years you would place half the participants on a low salt diet and the other half on a regular salt intake without their own knowing what group they were in? Many commonly practiced treatments, including surgeries, have never been tested in this way because such a study would be impractical and downright unethical.
Still, entities with vested interest along with some of the skeptics use this limitation inherent in conducting salt-related, double blind studies as a prime excuse to encourage continued salt consumption. The mere appearance of a controversy means more salt into your food and more money into their pockets, your health be damned.
Don’t be fooled. There is a mountain of evidence against your salt habit. Don’t fall for the notion that there’s a controversy about whether salt is bad for you. Salt kills, no doubt about it.
Perhaps some of these skeptics don’t know how easy it is to cut salt from their diets. More about that in a future blog post.