Friday, April 27, 2012

Kresser: Salt Is Good/Bad?

Most of what we read and hear about salt these days is telling us that salt consumption needs to be reduced, and it has even been referred to as “the single most harmful substance in the food supply”. (4)
However, until recently, salt had maintained an extremely high level of value for thousands of years of human history. As Mark Kurlansky explains in his book, A World History of Salt, “salt is so common, so easy to obtain, and so inexpensive that we have forgotten that from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history.” (5) So how did we develop this insatiable taste for salt, and why is it that we now fear salt as being dangerous for health? And furthermore, what role does salt truly play in our health and wellbeing?
This is part one of three by Chris Kresser, read on and learn.

If there's any better indictment of the current state of science and health than the government's recommendations on fat and grains, it's the absurd recommendations on salt.  "The best health care system in the world" - which it is, measured by how well it fixes broken people and keeps sick people alive - and the basic science of human metabolism and wellness is still wandering in the darkness of NIH and Department of Agriculture led weird science. 

The strangest part of all?  Everyone knew better.  As far back as the late 70s, my father (a pediatrician) told me that triglycerides were a more important measure of heart health than was cholesterol, and that salt restriction was only useful if you already had high blood pressure.  These things were not secret.  How could a system "unlearn" so much in such a short period of time? 

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