Salt Has A Salty History
April 8, 2009 by Bob Livingston
The Law of Moses required that all offerings contain salt.
Leonardo da Vinci painted an overturned salt dish in front of Judas which represented an ill omen for his traitorous act.
The importance of salt originated not only from its nutritional value as a mineral source, but also from its usefulness in preserving foods for seasons when people would otherwise have starved.
Many societies have used salt as a form of currency. The expression "not worth his salt" comes from the practice of trading slaves for salt in Greece.
For thousands of years salt has been considered an irreplaceable component of the human diet.
But guess what! Government-sponsored salt-related research triggered in 1979 "Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention" identified salt as a major factor in hypertensive conditions. Then another government study concluded that in general, societies with higher salt intake will have higher average blood pressure.
And even more damning was a 1999 study that followed more than 20,000 Americans for 25 years. The results were that people who ate more salt had "32 percent more strokes, a whopping 89 percent more deaths from stroke, 44 percent more heart-attack deaths, and 39 percent more deaths from all causes."
Well, an independent review of all this proved that the conclusions were false. The relationship of salt to cardiovascular disease was only true for persons hugely overweight. In fact, Michael Alderman, an epidemiologist and past president of the American Society of Hypertension, concluded quite the opposite and wrote that for persons who were not overweight, "the more salt you eat, the less likely you are to die."
While some hypertensive persons are sensitive to salt, it is false to conclude that high salt intake is a cause of high blood pressure.
Alderman concluded that those who consumed the least salt had the most myocardial infarctions and other cardiovascular complications.
An article published in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, in 1998, similarly concluded that people "who eat lots of salt live longer than those who avoid it." The 25 percent of people who consumed the lowest amount of salt had a higher risk of death compared with the 25 percent who consumed the highest amounts of salt. Likewise, in an eight-year study of hypertensives in New York, those on low-salt diets had more than four times as many heart attacks as people with normal sodium intake.
Rosch states that reduced salt intake actually has a number of negative consequences including: increased levels of renin (an enzyme that is associated with hypertension), increased levels of LDL (low-density lipids—the bad type of cholesterol), insulin resistance (the cause of adult onset or Type 2 diabetes), reduced sexual activity in men and cognitive difficulties and anorexia in the elderly.
There is not a doctor in the land who would not advise to cut your salt. What kind of salt is best? Celtic Sea Salt from France or Real Salt from Utah.
Meanwhile, they never mention sugar.
Reference: Rosch, Paul J., M.D., "Take the Latest Low Sodium Advice with a Grain of Salt."