Monday, July 11, 2011

War on Salt

So there’s this:
This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine—an excellent measure of prior consumption—the greatertheir risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you, but the evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous.

This should make Mayor Bloomberg look ridiculous, who personally led the anti-salt crusade from the front, loudly. To hear the rest of the Scientific American article tell it, the evidence linking salt intake to hypertension has always been flimsy, which should make everyone have a good think and particularly the technocrats: what other common nutritional advice is based on similarly flimsy evidence? What are we doing to study this?

I was always suspicious of the salt-cutting initiative because it seemed much too easy and too obvious. People are capable of surpassingly dumb omissions, but this seems a bit too much.

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