November 18, 2011

The Salt Debate – Not Going Away

Salt, one of the essential elements of life is generating a great debate. While the salt industry still claims it is all hot air and a turf war, other agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and doctors the world over say that too much salt is eaten by everyone and salt intake needs to be reduced. And, in another press release by another group, they say reducing salt only reduces blood pressure a little, but may also increase levels of some hormones and unhealthy fats. The study also states that reducing sodium may not have a health benefit. Both the CDC and the second study are published in WebMD.

A third article is an interview of Jiguang Wang, MD, PhD, about the sodium and hypertension problems in China. Dr. Wang points out that in countries where potassium is in balance, that the reduction in sodium may have smaller benefits. In China where potassium is generally low in the population, reduction in sodium intake has significant health benefits for the population.

All of this raises some interesting discussion and points for concern about who is correct and if the studies are indeed not focusing on the true issues. When will we have a correct answer I think will depend on the scientists reevaluating the entire underpinnings of the studies and possibly redoing some studies to make sure that all factors are evaluated for different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Both the CDC study and the second study are important and need to be carefully read to help in the individual decisions that need to be made. I think there is some truth in both studies and possibly some incorrect information because of poorly designed studies. I also think Dr. Wang may have exposed some of the weaknesses in his interview.

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