Ten years ago, Graham MacGregor and Hugh E. de Wardener argued in a report titled “Commentary: Salt, blood pressure and health” that salt was being used by the food industry not because it was needed to preserve food, but because it was needed to make the taste of processed food tolerable.
Salt is no longer required for preservation. Unfortunately, with the development of processed foods, salt has once again become of great commercial importance, not only to the salt manufacturers and extractors, but also to the food and soft drinks industries. Many of the cheap processed foods are only palatable with the addition of large amounts of salt, the cheapest ingredient.
It is not surprising, therefore, that commercial interests which represent the salt manufacturers and extractors, e.g. the Salt Institute in the US and the soft drinks industry, together with many sections of the food processing industry, have co-operated in perpetuating the idea that salt is not involved in hypertension.
Nearly all government appointed bodies and nutrition experts who have considered the evidence have recommended a reduction in salt intake.
When all of the evidence is considered from epidemiological, migration, intervention, treatment trials, genetic studies in humans and animal studies that relates salt intake to blood pressure and other harmful effects, the evidence is very strong. It is stronger than evidence for other dietary variables that are also important in cardiovascular disease, e.g. saturated fat intake and fruit and vegetable consumption.
Does this make you as angry as it makes me? I hope so. If you have any thoughts about what we can do about it, please share them by commenting below. Together we can make a difference.