Too little salt can also be a problem in the diet, but if a person is eating the SAD, there's no problem there - processed foods are a culprit when it comes to added sodium.
However, sticking with fresh, or fresh-frozen can be a real help in eliminating not only extra salt, but also the other chemicals used as preservatives and additives.
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"I am starting to think that the big problem with the Standard American Diet isn't one particular thing in it (the massive sugar, massive starch, the trans fats, the uneven types of fats, the salt, the mystery preservatives, the uneven vitamins) but rather the combination of them all together."
We like to simplify things into black and white and make culprits out of specific things, However, human bodies aren't that simple, science isn't that simple, life isn't that simple. The other problem is that many of the studies that we tend to take a truth come from interest groups and companies who have a vested interest in making a specific thing look good or bad. Not saying their research is wrong, it is just not independently tested and biased research must be taken with a grain of salt (no pun intended).
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Interestingly, there is no correlation between high cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease or total mortality. In fact, it has been show that elderly people with the highest cholesterol levels live the longest.
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Jenstress: Cutting out processed foods is a BIG win no matter what the reason. I am starting to think that the big problem with the Standard American Diet isn't one particular thing in it (the massive sugar, massive starch, the trans fats, the uneven types of fats, the salt, the mystery preservatives, the uneven vitamins) but rather the combination of them all together.
I have to admit, that when I first read this article, what it made me think about is how a lot of modern medical health studies oftentimes do not look at the ultimate outcomes of particular lifestyles but look at indicator outcomes, instead. In other words, lowering salt intake does, in fact, lower a person's blood pressure, and other studies show that lower blood pressure is associated with healthier hearts....but, when you actually look at whether or not lowering salt consumption results in healthier hearts, the connection is lost. We are taught in math class that if A=B and B=C then A must = C. It just doesn't work that way in nutrition. You have to look at disease prevention due to lifestyle changes rather than indicator changes due to lifestyle changes.....and in this case it is turning out that lowering salt does not seem to actually prevent actual disease or earlier death.....it just lessons an indicator (blood pressure) a little. It goes the same way with cholesterol. Lowering total blood cholesterol does not actually prevent heart disease or premature death unless you are a middle-aged man who has already had a heart attack. For those dudes, it helps. For the rest of us it just means taking an unneeded statin or foolishly avoiding egg yolks for no reason because some very limited study showed in middle-aged heart attack victims some benefit in lowering their cholesterol and, therefore, the rest of us must watch our cholesterol!
I noted your statement that "it's really almost impossible to stay below 1500mg of sodium and still get the other nutrients you need."
I just wanted to tell you that it's not really impossible, or even all that difficult, depending on your calorie range. I eat between 1400 and 1600 calories per day, get all of my other nutrients, and am almost always under 1500mg of sodium. There are days that I'm actually under 1000mg. The only times that I'm over are when I've eaten at a restaurant, used a canned tomato sauce, or needed soy sauce to add a specific flavour to something. I cook the vast majority of meals at home, love veggies, and tend to play with a lot of spices if I want to add different flavours to foods. I honestly don't even try to go for lower sodium levels - that's just where that number tends to end up based on my food choices.
For me, it's a matter of personal taste and not for any other reason, as I've never developed the taste for salt. It may be pure coincidence, but I'm also the only member of my family who has never been on meds for high blood pressure.
I haven't looked at the actual studies on the relationship between low (1500mg) sodium and blood pressure, so can't comment on whether the conclusions are truly evidence based or not. I just saw your statement and had to differ from my personal experience.
I think that the difficulty in adjusting sodium levels may be more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
Hope you have a great day!
Edited to add:
I did notice in the article that lower sodium can correlate to higher triglycerides --- as I'm the only one in the family with that. Hmmm - thanks to both of you for giving me something to do some research on, as I may have to start developing a taste for more salt!
Thank you for sharing this! I have cut way back on salt use and don't eat processed foods because of the sodium, but I was very interested in the fact that it might not be as bad as previously thought!!! Personally, I think all that I have done has only benefitted my health, but processed foods and salt aren't the best things to have!!! But sodium naturally occurring in foods is something I didn't want to worry about!
It's not even all that new. A lot of people have been noticing for a long time that the 1500-mg recommendation isn't evidence-based and might be causing more problems than it solves. Personally, I'd like to see a study looking at *how* people go about lowering their sodium that much. Are they cutting out otherwise healthy foods to avoid sodium? It's really almost impossible to stay below 1500mg of sodium and still get the other nutrients you need.
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