The myth of the low-salt diet

The salt wars in the US have been waged for over 50 years now, and it appears that salt is gaining the upper hand.

We have been hearing for generations that salt is bad for you and needs to be all but eliminated from our diet. Even a Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Health Needs (Senator George McGovern – 1977) issued a report (“Dietary Goals for the United States”) that – for the first time –
“advocated a dietary salt “goal” — specifically, less than 3 grams a day.”

As it turns out… unsurprisingly… so-called “experts” are beginning to be proved wrong:

According to a new book by James DiNicolantonio, you can freely consume salt without worrying about your blood pressure and heart. In fact, too little salt can endanger your health.

Deep down in the Salon article, the author gets to the crux of the issue. As soldiers were returning home from World War II in the late ’40s and heading off to Korea in the early ’50s, there appeared to be a growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease. With the pressure mounting on public health officials to find the cause, salt quickly became the easy target.

It’s no surprise, really, that our public officials would pick the low-hanging fruit from the crisis tree… the path of least resistance if you will… but the evidence is mounting which suggests that removing salt from our diet is actually making our health worse.

The article goes on to suggest that sugar and saturated fat are really the major players in the heart disease wars and should be treated accordingly. It’s worth noting that makers of products that contain these new Public Health “enemies” have very rich and powerful lobbies behind them – as opposed to the anti-salt crowd – which all but guarantees a much longer, bloodier, and more protracted fight ahead.

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