Salt – restrict or not?

Now An Open Question ….

We once thought at least there was one thing we knew the answer to!

The whole topic of the routine restriction of salt in most everyone’s diet is now blown wide open.

Yes, in certain medical situations, restriction of salt intake is recommended. This is something to discuss with your personal doctor.

What is very much in question is whether the population in general should be advised to restrict salt intake.

This is particularly important question for people who choose to eat mostly foods that are unprocessed or little processed. In this situation, the salt intake may actually be quite low – low enough to actually be a problem.

Table salt is sodium chloride. Each molecule is an association of one sodium atom and one chlorine atom.  In nutrition, we talk about sodium intake, rather than salt intake.

Here is a basic article on the Mayo Clinic website about sodium.

Many leading experts on sodium are now questioning the old party line of routine sodium restriction for all.

Note: There is no consensus about recommendation for the general public among the top experts in the field at present. There is still reason for more research. There is no disagreement that a low salt intake may be important and useful in certain medical situations. There is more confidence in the idea that high intakes of sodium may be harmful for the general population over time and for many of those with certain medical conditions.

(1)  a recent article in the New York Times, August 25, 2014

Written by: “Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist, and you can follow him on Twitter at @aaronecarroll.”

“Dash of Salt Does No Harm. Extremes Are the Enemy.”  LINK

(2)  Here is an eye-opening lecture by one such expert with well-recognized expertise on the subject of sodium in human nutrition.

Keep in mind that he is specifically talking about what the guidelines should be for the general public. It remains true that some people need to restrict sodium intake due to specific medical conditions – he is not arguing against this.

This is hot off the press, having been presented in November, 2014.

Speaker – Michael Alderman, MD, Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY

“Dietary Sodium and Health: Is The Answer In?”

Generously made available online by the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama

norc.uab.edu

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