To take a statement with 'a grain of salt' or 'a pinch of salt' means to accept it but to maintain a degree of skepticism about its truth. This could not be more apparent about advice from “Low Salt Experts” who have convinced the world that everyone needs to lower their salt intake.
In fact, the best evidence study on salt published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by lead investigator Jan Staessen, MD, PhD clearly states that the rise in systolic or diastolic blood pressure due to salt intake does NOT translate into higher risk for either blood pressure or heart and blood vessel disease! In addition, the study showed that lower salt intake was associated with higher heart and blood vessel disease mortality rates! The death rates got worse as the salt intake got lower!
So what could be going on here? And what do we do about this medical fallacy that has swept the global understanding of health and wellbeing? Well let’s take a look at what we have been told about salt and then we will look at more of what Dr. Staessen discovered to be true and is confirmed by the latest research.
Let’s discuss blood pressure for a minute to understand what it means. A person’s blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), for example 140/90. The first number is systolic pressure, the pressure in the vessels when you heart is contracting. The bottom number is diastolic pressure, the pressure in the vessels when you heart is at rest.
Mainstream thinking kind of goes like this…..traditional medical opinion tells us we are to lower our salt intake so this would in turn lower our blood pressure. The lowered blood pressure would automatically lower our risk of heart and blood vessel disease. This hypothesis has led to a worldwide acceptance that salt is bad and should be avoided. This is exactly the opposite to what research has shown. Low salt intake predicted higher cardiovascular mortality.
Salt: The Real Truth
Most people eat too much salt in the form of sodium chloride (table salt)
Processed foods are loaded in salt in the form of sodium chloride
Salt has little to do with high blood pressure
The minor changes in blood pressure due to salt have little or nothing to do with heart and blood vessel disease. (This was proven in the Staessen’s study)
Low-salt intake is detrimental to your health
Low-salt intake can lead to loss of insulin sensitivity (This is critical in Type II diabetes, blood vessel inflammation, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease)
Low-salt can lead to insufficient digestive enzymes (This is critical to those people who suffer with acid indigestion, reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD, and leads to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals. This definitely leads to heart and blood vessel disease!)
Low-salt for kids can be extremely detrimental (This can lead to developmental problems with nerves, muscles, and bones.)