Emerging evidence continues to establish that conventional doctors have always had a misguided approach towards better health. For decades they've been promoting low-salt intake to reduce heart disease and stroke. The opposite is true.
Diets low in salt increase the levels of cholesterol, fat and hormones in the blood that are known to increase the risk of heart disease a study has found.
The study by lead researcher Dr. Niels Graudal, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, adds to a growing body of research questioning the long-term benefits of a low-salt diet. In July, a review of seven previous studies published in the journal the Cochrane Library found that a moderate reduction in salt intake did not reduce a person's risk of dying or having heart disease.
Investigators have found that the less salt people ate, the more likely they were to die of heart disease
An earlier Cochrane review of dietary advice published in 2004 could not find enough evidence to allow the researchers to draw any conclusions about the effects of reducing salt intake on mortality or cardiovascular events.
In fact, Graudal said the recommendation that people cut back on salt may have come prematurely.
"In my opinion, these recommendations should never have been there, because there's not enough science to make [them]," Graudal said.
Graudal and colleagues examined data from 167 studies in which participants were randomly assigned to either a low-salt or high-salt diet. On average, participants were followed for at least four weeks.
The researchers saw a small effect of a low-salt diet on blood pressure. The effect was most significant for people with high blood pressure, or hypertension -- a low-salt diet reduced their blood pressure by 3.5 percent.
However, a low-salt diet led to a 2.5 percent increase in cholesterol levels, and a 7 percent increase in triglycerides. Further, it also led to increases in hormones that regulate the body's salt levels, which would cause the body to preserve salt, rather than excreting it in the urine, Graudal said.
It All About What Type of Salt You Consume
Many experts argue that salt could be just what we need for healing, health and longevity. Modern salt, they agree, is unhealthy. But common table salt has almost nothing in common with traditional salt, say the salt connoisseurs. Just look at the rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt, or the grey texture of Celtic salt -- both pride themselves on traditional harvesting, avoiding heat treatment or refining methods -- and you know you're getting something special, not least that when you taste them, they actually have flavour. And unlike the sodium chloride you find on most kitchen tables, unrefined rock salt contains more than 84 different minerals.
"These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated," argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. "We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid."