Say it loud, say it proud: please pass the salt. All those people hectoring me all those years to cut back on salt have been pushing phony advice, according to a major new study. Sophie Borland in the UK Daily Mail:
Research involving nearly 6,500 people concluded that there was 'no strong evidence' that lowering levels in the diet reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death.
In fact it found that cutting back on salt actually raises the likelihood of death in some patients with heart problems.
The researchers from Exeter University say that the benefits of cutting back on salt may have been 'overestimated'.
They also point out that there are other important lifestyle factors such as eating fruit, taking exercise, following a low-fat diet and not smoking which will also affect the health of an individual.
Frankly, I never believed that a substance my mindy, body, and palate craved, a substance it needs for life itself, could be all that bad. Food tastes better "well seasoned" (as they say on the cooking competition reality shows). Why would we be given this incentive if it were bad for us? Neithe God nor nature usually works that way. The imperial Chinese government financed itself in large part by a salt monopoly or salt tax, so vital is salt to survival. I love salty meals, salty snacks, and even salt water taffy.
I've lived through many food scares in my day, from eggs being bad for you, to alar, to coffee, and others I paid so little attention to I have forgotten them. The food scolds just don't have that much credibility in my mind. Having done a doctorate in sociology, I am familiar with the ways in which statistical evidence-based studies can be designed and managed in such a way as to confirm the investigator's presuppositions.
So back off, food nazis.