Myth busted: No-salt diets are NOT necessarily healthier

Saturday, August 25, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: salt, diet myths, hypertension

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) For decades Americans have been told by food and diet experts in government and the private sector that salt, more than any other substance, is harmful to our health, even more than fats, alcohol, sugars and, presumably, bad seafood. Now, however, comes new evidence that the contents of your table salt shaker are not as bad as once believed.

The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) dietary guidelines, released in January 2011 for the first time in six years, made the recommendation to slash one's intake of salt to no more than 2,300 milligrams daily, or about one tablespoon. The USDA further recommended that for people 51 and older, all African-Americans, and people who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (regardless of their age) cut their intake to about 1,500 milligrams, U.S. News and World Report said at the time.

"The focus is still on salt," Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, told the magazine. "We know that most Americans are eating two times or more of what's recommended which is 2,300 milligrams a day for most people. We still need to reduce our daily intake."

U.S. government health officials agreed with Sandon's assessment.

"We know today the average American probably consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium, so this is a fairly significant effort on our part and it must be reflected in the decisions that food-processing companies, in particular, make over time so folk don't necessarily reject out of hand these guidelines because the taste is so fundamentally different," USDA administrator Tom Vilsack said.

It's just a fact - salt is bad for you ... right?

Salt is so bad for us, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that curbing salt is as important as quitting smoking.

"And yet," writes Gary Taubes, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Independent Investigator in Health Policy Research and the author of Why We Get Fat in The New York Times, "this eat-less-salt argument has been surprisingly controversial - and difficult to defend. Not because the food industry opposes it, but because the actual evidence to support it has always been so weak."

As early as 1998, when he first began researching the supposedly ill-effects of salt, Taubes said many medical journal editors and public health administrators admitted that, even after 25 years' worth of an anti-sodium campaign, the evidence to support the claim was flimsy at best.

While the mantra has always been more salt means more medical problems, Taubes said some research published within the past few years actually indicates that eating less salt contributes to dying prematurely.

"Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the USDA and the CDC recommend, we'd be harming rather than helping ourselves," he wrote.

Why has this unproven declaration been allowed to stand for so long? Taubes said it is because, on the surface, there is much "biological plausibility" to the argument that by eating more salt, our bodies retain more water in order to keep a stable sodium concentration in our bloodstream.

That's why eating sodium makes us thirsty; we then retain more water, which can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure until the kidneys process it all.

"The scientific question is whether this temporary phenomenon translates to chronic problems: if we eat too much salt for years, does it raise our blood pressure, cause hypertension, then strokes, and then kill us prematurely? It makes sense, but it's only a hypothesis," he writes. "The reason scientists do experiments is to find out if hypotheses are true."

Salt intake research has historically been inconclusive

The eat-less-salt recommendation, Taubes says, came from two bodies of research prior to 1972, when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) introduced the National High Blood Pressure Education Program to help prevent hypertension. No conclusive studies had been done before then, but the two bodies of research, while inconclusive, at least seemed to support the possibility that too much salt could cause health problems.

So the government's "experts" ran with that.

Today, the government agencies primarily rely on a single 30-day study called the DASH-Sodium study, conducted in 2001. "It suggested that eating significantly less salt would modestly lower blood pressure; it said nothing about whether this would reduce hypertension, prevent heart disease or lengthen life," Taubes says, pointing out that other analyses and meta-analyses of various salt-intake research has produced more of the same: inconclusive data.

"This attitude that studies that go against prevailing beliefs should be ignored on the basis that, well, they go against prevailing beliefs, has been the norm for the anti-salt campaign for decades. Maybe now the prevailing beliefs should be changed," Taubes wrote.

Sources for this article include:

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.