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Friday, March 15, 2013

Myth Buster: Salt NOT linked to blood pressure

My mom was on a salt restriction for over 30 years. A few months ago I was informed that my mom was passing out.  At first she kept this information a secret, then she revealed this to her doctor.  Upon performing lab testing, he determined her salt level was too low.

Yes, that's right!  Her salt restriction had caused her to eat so little salt she was passing out.  Yet this was despite the fact I informed my mother over ten years ago that salt has nothing to do with blood pressure, and that her doctor ought to get up on modern wisdom.

What people need to be aware of is that your kidneys are responsible for pumping out extra salt.  If you eat too much, which most of us do, your kidneys will just make you pee it.  In fact, many animals will search for places where men have urinated just so they can get their salt intake. This is a natural phenomenon that has occurred since the ancient world.  So human bodies are more than capable of excreting extra salt.

The myth for years was that eating too much salt lead to blood pressure.  But modern evidence suggests that high blood pressure, as is atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), have nothing to do with our diets and everything to do with genetics. Recently 4,000 year old mummies were found to have heart disease, and Big Macs were not available back then.

In fact, according to Reuter's Health, people who ate as much salt as they wanted were more likely to live healthier lives and have less of a risk of having heart disease.

A friend of mine chose to debate me on this.  He said, "One study is not evidence."  I responded with this:

  1. A series of consistent studies over a ten year period is evidence
  2. No studies were used to create the myth; it was just made up; people thought it sounded good; and it was treated as fact.
It's easier to create a myth than to get rid of one.  The reason is because myths are born out of ignorance.  It's easier to be ignorant than it is to become educated.

So this might be the evidence we need to shut guys like Mayor Bloomberg who think they know what's best for the people of New York by making laws for the good of the people. 

Studies like this purport that heart disease is attributable to genetics and aging, and not diet. 

Other myths we have busted on this blog:
Further reading:

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