Reporting Natalie Nyhus
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Could all those warnings about too much salt be wrong? That’s the question what one independent researcher is raising in a New York Times op-ed piece.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study done in Belgium that found the opposite of what doctors had been telling us for years — that low salt intake can actually increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Now the Centers for Disease Control and other researchers say that study was flawed.
But the man behind that New York Times op-ed — “Why We Get Fat” author Gary Taubes — does research challenging nutritional science and insists that study shouldn’t just be dismissed.
“Our obsession with salt is misguided. It’s the wrong suspect. The crime is hypertension, heart disease, strokes. Premature deaths. Our salt consumption is not the issue,” said Taubes.
The CDC says the counter-research on salt isn’t being ignored. There’s just too much proof of the harm it can do.
“They simply are a minor part of a vast body of evidence from studies all over the world that have established the very close link between the amount of intake in everyday and our levels of blood pressure, consequently, the risks of strokes, heart attacks, dementia and other cardiovascular complications,” said Dr. Darwin Labarthe of Northwestern University.
The CDC recommends that adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day; less than that for people over 51 or those with existing health issues, who should limit their intake to about 1,500 milligrams per day.
Experts say that, until there’s more proof, you should continue to stick to what your doctor tells you.