6

votes

Eat Salt - OR you Just Might DIE!!!!!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 13, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Jama Study indicates a low salt diet leads to higher risk of death. Here's an article.

Do you think that the general recommendation to "eat less salt" is going to change as a result?

What's your take?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Yup, yup. My BP plummets if I don't get sufficient salt, and by sufficient, I mean a good 1/2 tsp. per day minimum (of unrefined sea salt). In an age of chronic adrenal overload which causes sodium and other mineral wasting, restricting salt is going to cause more problems than it helps. I think we forget sometimes that the human body is a big salt water battery, and insufficient salt reduces our electrical conductivity...the heart relies on electric impulses to beat properly, take away the salt, and the outcome seems obvious to me.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:09 AM

There was another study that came out a while back that found limiting salt intake to be "inconclusive" with regards to preventing cardiovascular disease. You might find it interesting in light of this study. It was also during my "Taubes Period" so it's a little heavy on the carbohydrate theory. (http://www.fitnessinanevolutionarydirection.com/2011/07/according-to-new-study-benefits-of.html)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:08 AM

I haven't tried the Applewood Smoked Salt, but I've been using Salish Alder Smoked Salt on my morning lamb steak, and it is divine. I open the jar and immediately start drooling.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:07 AM

I wrote a bit about a previous study that found limiting salt to be "inconclusive" with regards to cardiovascular disease prevention on my site that you might find interesting. Keep in mind it was written during my "Taubes Period", so it is a little heavy on the carbohydrate hypothesis. (http://www.fitnessinanevolutionarydirection.com/2011/07/according-to-new-study-benefits-of.html)

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:01 AM

"Increasing the intake of any minerals increases the load on the kidneys, which has to get rid of them whether they are in balance or not." This reminds me of the "increase omega 3 to 'balance' omega 6 arguement". Seems like the general rule of thumb for both is to maintain a balance but to avoid excess consumption.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:58 PM

Well-said; most people will acquire sufficient sodium from their food, however it is probable that a fair amount was encountered by wild humans in their drinking water, the absence of these ions (in addition to magnesium and calcium) create a slight increased need.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:57 PM

Wait, so you're telling me that I could applewood smoke bacon salted in applewood smoked salt? Double applewood across the sky!!!!

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Hit the nail on the head with "for me, salt is pretty self limiting - but I'm not eating Doritos either."

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 09, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I hadn't realized that metric buttloads were bigger than imperial buttloads. Thanks for learning me something new!

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:40 PM

And the sun too... after years of scaring everyone to stay out of the sun, now they realize that everyone is deficient in Vitamin D...

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Hmm, okay. Thanks Dave.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2011
at 10:12 PM

same here. we dont salt at the table much. i mean, i fyou want you can but i cook with a lot of salt.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 04:53 PM

When we lived in Wyoming the big horn sheep would be all over the road in the winter time just licking away at the salt used to melt the ice. Blaring car horns did not deter them one bit. Salt is quite a treat for all sort of animals.

25329057c9d5f6364a74787c8c2302e7

(806)

on June 13, 2011
at 03:13 PM

I would love to check out that documentary, if you can remember the name!

A15af22bd729ec030e8f47d1189b6eaf

(774)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Red meat ... this is gonna be a huge one ...

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:20 PM

I've gotten to be a bit of a salt snob. Have you tried applewood smoked salt? OMG

A15af22bd729ec030e8f47d1189b6eaf

(774)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:20 PM

I remember a documentary where a native guy in the Kalahari desert used a piece of salt to make an ape thirsty, so that the ape would eventually run off to an underground spring where the guy (who had been following the ape) could drink and fill his containers up. This wouldn't have worked if the ape hadn't gobbeled down that piece of salt like it was a delicious piece of fruit ... So, i guess salt used to be rare and sought after, a special treat just like fruits and honey.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:19 PM

My mom is on this horrible low salt diet. I think my title would have been better if I had said - something more along the lines of "don't go out of your way to avoid salt," or something. I also don't think it's license to belly up to the salt lick. But for me, salt is pretty self limiting - but I'm not eating Doritos either.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:18 PM

I'm a Redmond sea salt fan, too - love the kosher stuff. We rarely salt our food at the table, but I cook with quite a bit of it.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Though more iodine may definitely be a factor...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Potassium/sodium balance is tightly regulated by the body. Excessive sodium without potassium requires extra work for kidneys to excrete extra sodium and possibly causes minerals to be leeched from the bones to make up the difference.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:34 PM

Those in the health industry who recommend butter, eggs, salt used to be labeled quacks. What's up next?

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Hmm, but if butter and eggs are good for you (today ... and that's what I go by ...) does that trend support salt being good for you? Ay yaye yaye ...

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:31 PM

+1 for the potassium tip ... but how does it work? what does it do to remedy the salt?

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9 Answers

7
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 13, 2011
at 01:28 PM

First we are told that butter is bad and then we are supposed to eat margarine instead... then we learn that butter is actually better for you.

Then we are supposed to avoid eggs because they're bad for you... then we learn that eggs are actually good for you.

Then they say we are supposed to avoid salt, because salt is bad for you... now we learn that salt is actually good for you...

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:32 PM

Hmm, but if butter and eggs are good for you (today ... and that's what I go by ...) does that trend support salt being good for you? Ay yaye yaye ...

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:34 PM

Those in the health industry who recommend butter, eggs, salt used to be labeled quacks. What's up next?

A15af22bd729ec030e8f47d1189b6eaf

(774)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Red meat ... this is gonna be a huge one ...

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 14, 2011
at 04:40 PM

And the sun too... after years of scaring everyone to stay out of the sun, now they realize that everyone is deficient in Vitamin D...

6
1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

on June 13, 2011
at 01:13 PM

I always figured I could trust my body when it came to my salt intake. It's not addictive like sugar. Salt needs are so individual, it seems ludicrous to have rules about how much one should eat and even if you do eat too much the imbalance it is soooo easily remedied with regular potassium intake.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 10:45 PM

Hmm, okay. Thanks Dave.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:31 PM

+1 for the potassium tip ... but how does it work? what does it do to remedy the salt?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on June 13, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Potassium/sodium balance is tightly regulated by the body. Excessive sodium without potassium requires extra work for kidneys to excrete extra sodium and possibly causes minerals to be leeched from the bones to make up the difference.

5
25329057c9d5f6364a74787c8c2302e7

on June 13, 2011
at 01:58 PM

I think generally speaking, Americans eat too much salt, because there is a metric buttload of salt (and sugar) in processed food to coverup the fact that it tastes like crap. I think people eating Paleo probably could be eating less salt than optimal. My main argument is that we have the luxury of eating fresh meat just about every day. I think our true Paleo ancestors probably cured a lot of their meats using fire and salt. It just isn't likely (depending on tribe size) for an entire antelope or other large mammal to be consumed immediately.

So maybe the modern Paleo guys who eat a good amount of jerky, seaweed chips, and salt-brined tuna/ salmon might be ok. Those of us who don't, though, might be lower.

Keep in mind I have no real idea if this is correct, just thinking outloud...

Alex from PaleoPax

A15af22bd729ec030e8f47d1189b6eaf

(774)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:20 PM

I remember a documentary where a native guy in the Kalahari desert used a piece of salt to make an ape thirsty, so that the ape would eventually run off to an underground spring where the guy (who had been following the ape) could drink and fill his containers up. This wouldn't have worked if the ape hadn't gobbeled down that piece of salt like it was a delicious piece of fruit ... So, i guess salt used to be rare and sought after, a special treat just like fruits and honey.

25329057c9d5f6364a74787c8c2302e7

(806)

on June 13, 2011
at 03:13 PM

I would love to check out that documentary, if you can remember the name!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 04:53 PM

When we lived in Wyoming the big horn sheep would be all over the road in the winter time just licking away at the salt used to melt the ice. Blaring car horns did not deter them one bit. Salt is quite a treat for all sort of animals.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 09, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I hadn't realized that metric buttloads were bigger than imperial buttloads. Thanks for learning me something new!

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:14 PM

No I don't think the general recommendation to eat less salt will change. This is because processed food, he default staple of most Americans, is loaded with salt.

Even as a paleo person I've never stopped using salt. It's all good Redmond sea salt and I salt all my food always. Tastes better and I sweat a lot.

91c2e2a35e578e2e79ce7d631b753879

(2081)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:18 PM

I'm a Redmond sea salt fan, too - love the kosher stuff. We rarely salt our food at the table, but I cook with quite a bit of it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 13, 2011
at 10:12 PM

same here. we dont salt at the table much. i mean, i fyou want you can but i cook with a lot of salt.

3
637042e24e38a81dfc089ef55bed9d46

(826)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I think it's important to distinguish between unrefined salts (sea, himalayan) and manufactured salts...I find I use much more salt when it's refined rather than sea salt.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:20 PM

I've gotten to be a bit of a salt snob. Have you tried applewood smoked salt? OMG

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:57 PM

Wait, so you're telling me that I could applewood smoke bacon salted in applewood smoked salt? Double applewood across the sky!!!!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:08 AM

I haven't tried the Applewood Smoked Salt, but I've been using Salish Alder Smoked Salt on my morning lamb steak, and it is divine. I open the jar and immediately start drooling.

2
121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

on March 09, 2012
at 11:38 PM

I am really surprised that nobody has addressed the methodological flaws in this study, which were substantial. Just because it passed JAMA muster, doesn't automatically mean it was a good study. The difference in urine output between the study groups is suspicious and definitely merits scrutiny.

I have seen the difference adjusting salt intake makes in blood pressure in myself and others, so suggesting people should now pound back the salt is just reckless.

Arguments like "our ancestors probably cured meats with salt" border on the unbelievable. Apart from the fact that there is no archaelogical evidence to support such a claim, ask yourself whether you ever tried to find salt, on its own, in nature. Why do you think goats of all stripes are so big on salt licks? Salt isn't found in every ecological niche, and when it is, it doesn't typically occur in abundance (marine environments being the notable exception).

Salt tastes good to us precisely because it is both essential to life and it has typically been scarce. Humans need about 200 mg/d -- that's two zeros, not three -- of sodium to survive, and they can get it from a variety of sources. Just three eggs, a paleo favourite, will do it.

The long and short of it is, you don't really need to salt your food, and if you don't, you'll still be getting enough sodium.

I am all for getting more potassium in your diet. To suggest that you can just cancel excess salt with potassium, however, is an oversimplification. Increasing the intake of any minerals increases the load on the kidneys, which has to get rid of them whether they are in balance or not.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:58 PM

Well-said; most people will acquire sufficient sodium from their food, however it is probable that a fair amount was encountered by wild humans in their drinking water, the absence of these ions (in addition to magnesium and calcium) create a slight increased need.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:01 AM

"Increasing the intake of any minerals increases the load on the kidneys, which has to get rid of them whether they are in balance or not." This reminds me of the "increase omega 3 to 'balance' omega 6 arguement". Seems like the general rule of thumb for both is to maintain a balance but to avoid excess consumption.

2
3654b5b893e312b69f8db05e4e5175b5

on June 13, 2011
at 04:34 PM

I think as other users have said, that processed fake salts are probably something we should have in moderation. Obviously if we eat a lot of processed foods it's probably loaded with cheap processed salts and sugars. But if you read Weston A. Price's Sally Fallon and Mary Enig's book Eat Fat, Lose Fat it is stated that many cultures have gone to great lengths to acquire natural salt, and that its an important part of one's diet. They stressed though, that naturally mined salt (I use Celctic Sea Salt http://www.celticseasalt.com/) is the most beneficial, not man made salt.

Hope that helps!

2
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I have noticed that I actually need to add regular salt into my diet to help raise my BP, I generally use sea salt but I'm obviously deficient so I mix a bit of both into my diet. Strange how your body tells you what you need!!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on March 10, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Yup, yup. My BP plummets if I don't get sufficient salt, and by sufficient, I mean a good 1/2 tsp. per day minimum (of unrefined sea salt). In an age of chronic adrenal overload which causes sodium and other mineral wasting, restricting salt is going to cause more problems than it helps. I think we forget sometimes that the human body is a big salt water battery, and insufficient salt reduces our electrical conductivity...the heart relies on electric impulses to beat properly, take away the salt, and the outcome seems obvious to me.

1
776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Another issue with correlation/causation. More salt isn't necessarily magical--it's probably just that people eating more salt are eating less sugar.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Though more iodine may definitely be a factor...

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 13, 2011
at 02:19 PM

My mom is on this horrible low salt diet. I think my title would have been better if I had said - something more along the lines of "don't go out of your way to avoid salt," or something. I also don't think it's license to belly up to the salt lick. But for me, salt is pretty self limiting - but I'm not eating Doritos either.

Medium avatar

(19479)

on March 09, 2012
at 11:55 PM

Hit the nail on the head with "for me, salt is pretty self limiting - but I'm not eating Doritos either."

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