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Old 06-23-2014, 12:42 PM   #1
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Salt restriction

"Food companies and restaurants could soon face government pressure to make their foods less salty — a long-awaited federal effort to try to prevent thousands of deaths each year from heart disease and stroke."

FDA set to pepper food firms to reduce salt

Good thing? Probably. But according to many articles " the correlation between salt intake and poor health has remained tenuous."

It's Time to End the War on Salt - Scientific American

What I wonder (and this is just my personal 'wonder') is if salt restriction is mo' bettah AFTER a person's blood pressure has risen.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:12 PM   #2
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My understanding is that only a small percentage of the population is negatively effected by salt consumption. Regardless, cutting back on salt has been a medical direction for decades.

This is among many medical "truths" that are being disproved recently. My doctor has never told me to cut back on salt.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:22 PM   #3
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How some issues become "truths": They're often buried deep in the past and continue to be expanded on through the years by people who don't bother to read the science.

"Fears over salt first surfaced more than a century ago. In 1904 French doctors reported that six of their subjects who had high blood pressure—a known risk factor for heart disease—were salt fiends. Worries escalated in the 1970s when Brookhaven National Laboratory's Lewis Dahl claimed that he had "unequivocal" evidence that salt causes hypertension: he induced high blood pressure in rats by feeding them the human equivalent of 500 grams of sodium a day. (Today the average American consumes 3.4 grams of sodium, or 8.5 grams of salt, a day.)"

Six patients?
"unequivocal" ?
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:24 PM   #4
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+1 on the doc not suggesting I cut back.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:38 PM   #5
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It is well to remember that humans and many, many other mammals thrive in widely varying environments, including the amount of salt in foodstuffs. So kidneys are adept at maintaining appropriate levels of sodium. There are limits, of course. You can't survive drinking sea water alone, because, while the kidneys may well be able to deal with the salt, they will need to do it by using more water (as urine) than the sea water provides. And early hunter gatherers likely spent at least some of the time short of salt and avidly sought sources. Meat alone doesn't provide enough salt. People can get into trouble on the so-called Paleo Diet from salt deprivation. (There's nothing about the diet that reflects "paleo" man's diet, anyway.)

The evidence suggests that the very small reduction in blood pressure in people with significantly reduced salt intake really reflects a salt intake so low that the body can't maintain the level of sodium it seeks. Unless you absolutely need to, it's not a good thing to deprive your body of a tital element to the point where it fails in some way, such as maintaining blood pressure. Your blood pressure may be high, but it's not caused by salt intake. If you reduce salt intake to zero, you will indeed reduce blood pressure. It will also be zero.

It's important to note that people with physical problems that either affect kidney function or that otherwise mandate an abnormally low sodium level may be forced to reduce salt intake dramatically. It's forcing the issue, not fixing the problem, but the problem may not be fixable, and the best we can do is force the sodium affect down.

And, as the SA article points out, when you are dealing with very large numbers, small changes may have effects that people imagine are large but are really miniscule. Lower blood pressures by 1 mm of mercury, and a few people live a bit longer. But...

The article cites the guesstimate that a 34% reduction in salt will "save 44,000 lives a year." What is that in individual terms? Well, that's 1/7114 of the US population. So we each get a theoretical 1/20 of a day or roughly one hour. That's assuming you don't die of something else in the meantime. And that's little more than a guess and may be entirely incorrect. (Probably no more correct than my back-of-the-envelope calculations, so don't bother pointing out the errors. You know what I mean by the effect being negligible.)

(I shall also continue to use MSG, for that is another entirely bogus evil.)
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:43 PM   #6
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There is a school of thought that food manufacturers use excessive salt in order to cover up poor ingredients especially in cheap ready meals.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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I have reduced my salt intake enough that I find KFC chicken too salty for me.

I hope more vendors will come out with a lower salt version. I'd love to have some KFC chicken again.
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
The article cites the guesstimate that a 34% reduction in salt will "save 44,000 lives a year." What is that in individual terms? Well, that's 1/7114 of the US population. So we each get a theoretical 1/20 of a day or roughly one hour.

That's assuming you don't die of something else in the meantime. And that's little more than a guess and may be entirely incorrect. (Probably no more correct than my back-of-the-envelope calculations, so don't bother pointing out the errors. You know what I mean by the effect being negligible.)

(I shall also continue to use MSG, for that is another entirely bogus evil.)
Thanks----- and I believe your guessimates are close to the facts. Now, what should I do with my added One Hour that I gain if I restrict salt? Probably eat some Ramen noodles complete with salt AND msg!
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Old 06-23-2014, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
There is a school of thought that food manufacturers use excessive salt in order to cover up poor ingredients especially in cheap ready meals.
That and sugar.
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Old 06-23-2014, 02:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
There is a school of thought that food manufacturers use excessive salt in order to cover up poor ingredients especially in cheap ready meals.
That wouldn't be anything new. I wonder. Might be something to that. As anyone knows who has attempted to cook without adding salt or with little salt, if you want flavor, you have to be selective about ingredients and use various herbs and spices, all of which are much more expensive than salt. At least with lots of salt, it's got some flavor.... salt flavor. And we're wired to appreciate salt taste, from the days of it being hard to come by but necessary. We respond strongly to the things we once hunted for, salt, sugar, and fat. Fat is more mouth feel, but we crave it almost as much as the other two. Maybe that accounts for peanut butter's popularity, the commercial variety. Lots of salt. Lots of fat. Added sugar. It's a lot more attractive than a pile of plain peanuts that I guess you'd call the main ingredient. If it didn't already exist, would it appear in fancy restaurants as:

"Puree of peanut, glistening with its own flavorful oil, lightly salted and sweetened to a delightful balance."
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