Salt; The Good, The Bad and the Ugly… the truth is not so black and white (Part 1)

Sea Salt

For years we’ve been told to avoid salt at all cost,  and more recently there has even been talk about government stepping to regulate its use in the food industry,  (more government regulations, just what we need).  From the research I’ve found looking into this topic, it appears that the results are not quite as conclusive as the warnings would indicate and that the evidence pointing to the health risks posed by salt is flimsy at best.

“You can say without any shadow of a doubt, that the authorities pushing the eat-less-salt message had “made a commitment to salt education that goes way beyond the scientific facts.” (NYT oped)  

and

“…the evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting how much salt we eat can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely.  Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we’d be harming rather than helping ourselves.”  (NYT oped)

Please read the full New York Times June 2, 2012 oped as well as the Weston Price Foundation article for a more accurate picture of salt and its role in our overall wellbeing.

This is reminiscent of the scam issue we faced with trans-fats where the food industry was able to convince mainstream health agencies that transfats were a healthy option, when all along, it was the transfats that were responsible for the health risks the food industry was accusing saturated fats of causing ie. high cholesterol, heart disease…  Though this time the food industry is not behind the salt reduction campaign (this cheap imitation salt is far too useful to them), health organizations seem similarly willing to buy into preliminary research and are jumping to conclusions full force.  They have latched on to the demonization of salt as a whole and the belief that it must be severely restricted.  And it doesn’t appear they will be letting this go any time soon.

The truth is…
Salt has been a treasured commodity for thousands of years and there is a very good reason for this – OUR BODIES NEED IT TO SURVIVE.  Salt is needed for  a number of the crucial functions our bodies perform everyday.

It should be noted here that the salt referred to in the studies is table salt or iodized salt, the lowest quality salt available (and coincidentally, also the cheapest salt).  This is the type of salt used by the food industry, which apparently serves a number of purposes including acting as a preservative as well as intensifying the flavor of foods which masks less pleasant flavors in processed foods.  It is estimated that 75 to 80% of salt in the average American’s diet comes from processed foods .

The health agencies in questions could better spend their time by looking into the differences between table salt, which is used in significant quantities by the food industry (Sodium Chloride) and the natural unprocessed salts (Sodium).

Given mainstream media and the mainstream medical community’s track record, it really is up to each one of us to individually remain vigilant about the various health claims made and educate ourselves in order to get to the real truth.