Well, I have to admit that I say that I love salt after I have restricted my purchases of smoked salmon to the less salty varieties. But seriously, I find that I am using a lot more salt in flavoring my food than I am supposed to. And I feel fine. Am I courting death?
In fact, it could be that this is healthy. Gary Taubes, writing for NYT, argues that conventional wisdom about the danger of salt is not supported by experimental data. In other words, the hypothesis that more salt is harmful is just that — jut a hypothesis. Here it is
Eat more salt and your body retains water to maintain a stable concentration of sodium in your blood. This is why eating salty food tends to make us thirsty: we drink more; we retain water. The result can be a temporary increase in blood pressure, which will persist until our kidneys eliminate both salt and water.
But while this has some intuitive plausibility, there is no conclusive evidence that blood pressure stays elevated. And there is a counter hypothesis
A 1972 paper in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that the less salt people ate, the higher their levels of a substance secreted by the kidneys, called renin, which set off a physiological cascade of events that seemed to end with an increased risk of heart disease. In this scenario: eat less salt, secrete more renin, get heart disease, die prematurely.
So I will continue with my higher salt diet, comforted by the thought that my renin levels are probably under control.
FOLLOW - So what about sugar? Mayor Bloomberg argues that the case against sugar is stronger, and therefore there is a reason to ban super sized containers of sugary beverages. Mark Bittman thinks this is spot on. And to the extent that the evidence that links heightened sugar consumption to obesity grows, I am with them. BTW, The Daily Meal reports on a recent study that heightened levels of sugar intake can interfere with thinking. Gulp!
2d FOLLOW - Mark Hyman weighs in with a rather broad based assault on the food industry. I was especially interested in his comments about MSG