Winning the Salt Wars or never trust a statistician!

by Kerry Cue

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“There is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.”

Navy quote 2f………….Cochrane Collaboration, 2003

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Stop the maths and pass the salt!

salt and pepper wizards   eBbayIn 2006, the New York Times article titled ‘The War over salt’, Melanie Warner (13 Sept 2006) reported that the American Medical Association, AMA, had called on the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, to limit the amount of salt in food. This was the first time the AMA had called for the regulation of a food ingredient.

The article stated: ‘In 2004, researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a study in The American Journal of Public Health concluding that 150,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were cut in half.’

Hold that thought.

1950s TV spidersden blog

In 2011, the Scientific American ran this headline : It’s Time to End the War on Salt. ( Melinda Wenner Moyer, 8 JUL 2011)

Meta-studies by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, not-for-profit health care research organization concluded as early as 2003 “there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.” Moreoever, the Cochrane Institute found that reducing salt intake does not reduce blood pressure significantly. The groups hypersensitive to salt include some elderly and some Afro-Americans.

Hillel Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine noted ‘A great number of promises are being made to the public with regard to this enormous benefit and lives saved’, but it is ‘based on wild extrapolations.’ That’s simply bad maths!

In other words, take extreme recommendations about your salt intake with a grain of salt.

Photo source: 1. eBay, 2. spidersden blog

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