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To Salt or Not to Salt…

To Salt or Not to Salt…
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From Ron Hoffman, MD, ANH-USA Board President and Medical Director

It’s pretty standard nutrition advice that limiting sodium consumption is a good thing. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge adults to not exceed 2300 milligrams of sodium per day, equivalent to one teaspoon of salt. Americans consume on average, upwards of 3500 milligrams per day, and a sizable proportion of the population consumes far more.

And that doesn’t just mean what comes from a salt shaker. Sixty percent of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods. Consider these sources:

1 Big Mac: 1007 mg
1 8 oz. bag of potato chips: 1192 mg
1 large tub movie popcorn: 2650 mg
1 pkg instant ramen noodles: 1760 mg
1 slice pizza: 640 mg
1 burrito: 985 mg
1 cup Campbell’s cream of chicken soup: 820 mg
1 pastrami sandwich: 1051 mg
1 cup Quaker Instant Corn Grits: 325 mg
1 Margarita cocktail: 295 mg

But some have inveighed against one-size-fits-all advice about sodium restriction. James DiNicolantonio wrote a popular book with the contrarian title The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong–and How Eating More Might Save Your Life”. The book pitch contends:

“What if everything you know about salt is wrong? A leading cardiovascular research scientist explains how this vital crystal got a negative reputation, and shows how to lower blood pressure and experience weight loss using salt.”

Red Pen Reviews, a site that evaluates the scientific bona fides of diet and health books, had this to say about The Salt Fix:

“The book scored poorly in scientific accuracy because it makes overly confident claims based on weak studies, while ignoring stronger evidence and arguments that aren’t consistent with its message . . . Overall, the scientific evidence suggests that typical intakes of salt contribute to high blood pressure and probably cardiovascular disease, and limiting salt intake is probably healthy for most people.”

So how do we reconcile these seemingly disparate views on salt?

Read the full article.

4 thoughts on “To Salt or Not to Salt…

  • This is why the medical community are losing patients in droves!! Deep down they are mad as they know the way cannot fix anyone and this is why they are slowly jumping in on our territory and trying to make it their own so we can’t even use what we have always recommended! One thing is for sure they cannot take our food away and this is one reason as a Doc of Ayurveda I teach a lot about food as medicine !! More than one way to skin a cat! Blessings to all❤️❤️

  • Jane

    Universal anything is never good. We are all unique genetically. Universal salt restriction endangers those of us with low adrenal function. I take hydrocortisone daily but still need plenty of salt. Even so, my BP is low normal.

  • Pamela Kay

    Well, I can tell you for myself, a 74 year old woman, that abundant salt is critical for my well-being. I don’t mean table salt, a refined substance, but rather Celtic salt or a salt that is not refined and has 90+ minerals in it. It all depends on how much salt someone’s body holds and recycles, or if they just throw off the immediate excess. The body can actually do many things with Celtic salt brine water (1 Tablespoon dissolved in your best drinking water, in a glass quart jar.)

    I cup of this sipped slowly will pull someone out of Shock, and also dehydration. It resets the brain’s electrical charge to pull one out of shock. A half cup of this liquid right out of bed in the morning is better than a cup of coffee to wake someone up and get their brain and body activated for the day 🙂 I am sharing this from my own personal experience over the past 25 years. I learned a little bit about it, and experimented with it.

    It helps to cleanse metals from the brain also. It helped me to recover from years of mercury poisoning, as it is cleansing to the brain and body tissues. I did other things too of course. BUT starting to drink this water, pulled me out of a desperate place and helped me to be able to fast again, after years of not being able to do that any longer.

    If you drink the Celtic salt brine water too fast or too much of it at one time, you will get a bowel flush. You wouldn’t want to do that all the time, but some will help keep your bowels functioning normally. Even still now, years after getting 40 amalgam fillings out of my teeth, if I do not get enough salt in during the day, I will get leg cramps in the night. This can happen from a lot of exercise, taking a sauna, being in the sun a good amount, or fasting longer or harder than maybe I should have. Even a little bit of all of this can create the leg cramps. I have salt brine water sitting by my bed in a glass jar for such occasions, in case I goofed up in not getting enough salt in during my day. I drink a half cup of salt brine water slowly, and usually get up to go to the bathroom to walk out the cramping. In 10 minutes the cramping is gone and I am back to sleep. I used to think this was just my particular need; but I have learned that a lot of people have similar situations and results. However, that might not be so for everyone. Also, I do NOT use prepared/packaged foods, nor do I eat out. I avoid foods that have refined table salt in them, but I use Celtic salt generously on all the food that I eat that needs it. I just thought I would share this for others to consider or experiment with.

  • Karyn

    Very good objective article. I don’t limit salt at all; in fact, I’m probably above the upper limit recommended. My systolic blood pressure is usually under 120 at 74 years old. Salt has not caused HT for me. My mother at 96 avoids salt like the plague and has HT. She’s had cognitive problems from hyponatremia. One topic I didn’t see explored is the relationship between salt consumption and osteoporosis. Many claim that salt causes you to pee out calcium. It’s definitely a consideration for many. I wonder if it’s true.

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