April 18, 2014

Salt Reduction Recommendations Wrong: CDC Study

Salt CDC PhRMA Salt Reduction Recommendations Wrong: CDC Study

by Heidi Stevenson
Gaia-Health.com

The CDC commissioned the IOM to do a study on salt. The results are in and clear: The evidence shows that limiting yourself to the amount of salt the CDC recommends will harm your health. So what does the CDC do about it? Nothing, of course!

Salt is one of the most important nutrients, yet modern medicine has been demonizing it for decades. Now, though, even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) must admit that they’ve had it wrong. They commissioned a study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the results are clear: Reducing salt intake is almost always a bad idea. The IOM’s report states:

The committee found no evidence for benefit and some evidence suggesting risk of adverse health outcomes associated with sodium intake levels in ranges approximately 1,500 to 2,300 mg/day among those with diabetes, kidney disease, or CVD. Further, the evidence on both the benefit and harm is not strong enough to indicate that these subgroups should be treated differently than the general U.S. population.[1]

That is, the IOM’s review could find no evidence that lowering salt (sodium) intake is beneficial for people with diabetes, kidney disease, or cardiovascular disease. So, not only is there no reason for the general public to reduce salt intake, there’s no reason for those who have been routinely targeted, people with diabetes, kidney disease, or cardiovascular disease, to take less.

The Academies of Science, which include the IOM, states that the committee concludes[2]:

  • Low sodium intake may lead to adverse effects in people with “mid- to late-stage heart failure who are receiving aggressive treatment for their disease”.
  • Some evidence indicates that 1,500 to 2,300 mg of salt a day may have an adverse effect on people with diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.

CDC Continues to Push Salt Reduction

The average American takes in 3,400 mg of salt a day, about 1½ teaspoons. The federal guidelines say that it should be brought down to less than 2,300 mg a day. It’s a good thing that people have not been following their doctors’ advice, because it would have been killing them.

At some point, you’d think that the truth about salt would sink in, but it never seems to happen. In fact, the page on which the CDC announces the new IOM report—which they commissioned—shows absolutely no indication that there will be any rethinking of their salt reduction recommendations, as you can see here in this PDF reduction of their page, Salt Home:

The CDC completely ignores the study they commissioned. They are clinging to their old advice:

Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. However, if you are in the following population groups, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day

And who do they specify should keep sodium below 1,500 mg per day? Exactly the same ones that the IOM report has shown should get more than 2,300 mg a day, plus a couple more:

  • Age over 51
  • African American
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic kidney disease

You truly must ask why this is? Is the CDC’s goal to destroy American’s health? Their own commissioned study has found that intake of 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium per day is harmful to precisely this group of people. To be frank, the only explanation must be that the CDC is little more than a front for Big Pharma.

The Big Pharma Connection

As long as they can continue to point the finger of blame at people themselves, the more they can justify pushing drugs on them. As long as the high blood pressure hysteria can be maintained by blaming salt, the easier it is to get people to take their blood pressure and cholesterol drugs.

Real research has never documented that salt is harmful. It is, instead, a necessary nutrient. In most people, the ability to regulate salt is a simple matter that’s managed by your kidneys. Yes, too much salt is harmful … but very few people eat that amount. The original research that appeared to implicate salt as harmful was based on a few extremely ill people with end-stage disease that produced edema. In those cases, salt reduction reduced the swelling of edema.

Unfortunately, the deranged metabolism of very ill people was taken as a stand-in for everyone else. So studies were done with the specific goal of achieving results that appear to implicate salt as harmful. That is not how real science is done. Real science tries to get to the truth, not a predetermined result.

The reality is that salt is rarely harmful and that most people’s intake is perfectly healthy.. But public health agencies and doctors have latched onto the salt reduction mantra so firmly that it’s become equivalent to a thou-shalt-not. But it isn’t, as genuine research has shown again and again:

It seems to be quite apparent that the CDC’s interest is in Big Pharma’s profits, not in the health of Americans. If they were, they’d tell the truth about salt. Yet, when a study shows the truth, they sweep it under the carpet. So, it’s up to you to decide how to manage your health. You can turn your brain off and just follow the Big Pharma profit-oriented advice from agencies like the CDC, or you can pay attention to the real research.

Read the full article here: http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2013-06-21/salt-reduction-recommendations-wrong-cdc-study/

Sources:

  1. Sodium Intake in Populations Assessment of Evidence
  2. Studies Support Population-Based Efforts to Lower Excessive Dietary Sodium Intakes, But Raise Questions About Potential Harm From Too Little Salt Intake

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