Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Salt in the Wound...

Have you been trying to cut down on salt because the American Heart Association told you that would be a good idea?   Limit your sodium to 1500 mg./day they've warned:   

But maybe you'd rather listen to the USDA who recommended, in their 2010 Guidelines, that you limit sodium to 2300 mg./day:

There's a big difference between 1500 and 2300 -- even I, with my deteriorating math skills, can figure that out  (though I am a long way from first grade, I'm telling ya).    Why are we giving so much charity money to the AHA and so much of our tax dollars to the USDA if this "guidance" is the best they can come up with? 

To muddy the salted water even more, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) just came out with a study that indicates you may have problems if you eat TOO LITTLE salt:


Want yet more food for thought?  An article on Business Insider discusses a  recent medical study which indicated that low sodium levels in the urine were associated with higher mortality:

So, what's the answer:  more salt, less salt, sea salt, no salt?  Hop on the Diet Merry-go-Round, but don't fall off!

One scientist who places the emphasis not strictly on the amount of salt you consume, but on the ratio of salt to another mineral is Dr. Richard D. Moore.  Moore's 2001 book, The High Blood Pressure Solution: A Scientifically Proven Program for Preventing Strokes and Heart Disease, sets forth the idea that  the majority of cases of stroke, heart attack, and hypertension can easily be prevented by maintaining the proper ratio of potassium to sodium (K/Na) in the diet.   He recommends you keep at least a 4:1 ratio, each day, of potassium content of your food to sodium content.  You can find more about Dr. Moore  and his book at his website:

How to keep a healthy K/Na ratio?  Well, would you be surprised to hear that those foods that tend to be highest in potassium are vegetables (followed by fruits).  No, I didn't think so.

Did you ever hear anyone tell you that broccoli is bad for you.

No, I didn't think so.

I don't necessarily want to hear someone tell me broccoli is bad for me.  But I would dearly love hearing someone tell me that CUPCAKES are good for me.  Health food, that's it -- health food.

Dr. Moore believes that not just blood pressure is affected detrimentally by a poor K/Na ratio, but on his website says the following things are affected as well:

"About 95% of the cases of high blood pressure.
At least 90% of strokes whether or not high blood pressure is involved.
Much of the osteoporosis and kidney stones.
An increased likelihood of h-pylori infection with resulting stomach ulcer and stomach cancer.
An increase in the severity of asthma.
An increased likelihood of mental decline with aging.

In addition, there is some evidence that this low K/Na ratio in the American diet contributes to insulin resistance, to obesity, and to adult diabetes."

Wow -- that's a lotta troubles.  All of which I'd like to avoid, if I could.

Moore's book is thoroughly footnoted and thorough in its analysis.  You might find it worth the time to look at it, although it's not an easy read:  it is fairly technical, and requires a close reading.  Although Moore doesn't specifically say this, it seems to me that if you are trying to follow his program, your eating habits will end up being pretty close to 100% vegan.

As always, I'd love to hear from anyone who has some thoughts on what to do about the Salt Conundrum.

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