The Salt Myth Debunked

For the last 30-40 years, we’ve been hearing the same message everywhere we go:

Cut down salt, cut down salt, cut down salt … and again, cut down salt.

The problem is, there is not a single, reliable scientific study to back this song up. On the contrary; there are actually quite a few studies that indicate the opposite.

Everything, however, has its time and place. Some forms of salt should be avoided at all cost. Other forms are necessary and you may not be getting enough of that type of salt.

That’s why in today’s feature article I’ll go over the issue of salt from A to Z and debunk some of the more ridiculous propaganda we’ve been bombarded with.

Lets begin our journey with a recent study from The University of Exeter in the UK. This study analyzed numbers from three studies, totaling 6,250 people who had either normal blood pressure, high blood pressure or previous heart problems.

Around 10% – 665 people – died during the study period and the connection between salt intake and those deaths was what researchers were measuring.

No surprise that blood pressure rose slightly for those who consumed more salt than those who restricted their salt intake. However, it was an impact of only 1-4 mm/Hg systolic blood pressure. This approaches being statically irrelevant.

Other than slight a reduction in blood pressure, reducing salt had absolutely no positive effects. People with both high and low blood pressure who reduced their salt intake died just as frequently from stroke and heart attack as those who didn’t restrict salt.

Now here comes the kicker…

The most surprising thing the researchers learned was that salt restriction increased the risk of all-cause mortality in those with heart failure. They were more likely to die of heart attack, stroke and most other causes than those with heart failure who ate plenty of salt.

And this is not the only study debunking the salt myth.

A European study published in the May 4 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association followed 3,681 middle aged individuals who did not have high blood pressure at the beginning of the study for 8 years.

Again, they noted a slight rise in blood pressure among those who consumed the biggest amount of salt compared to those that consumed the least. But again, the increase in blood pressure was small – less than 2 mm/Hg in systolic blood pressure. And those who consumed the biggest amounts of salt had no more risk of developing hypertension (blood pressure over 120/80).

How is this possible? How can it be that something that has become such common knowledge is maybe nothing but one big myth?

You see, studying salt intake on a long term basis is very difficult. Most people consume the majority of their salt from processed food and are maybe not even aware of how much salt they’re eating. So surveying people about salt consumption is almost impossible.

The only way to accurately measure salt consumption is by taking a 24-hour urine sample (asking people to put all their urine in a bottle for 24 hours). This is what they did at the end of the second study above.

Most studies in the past have, however, not used the urine method. Instead they’ve either surveyed people over many years or asked people to drastically raise or lower their salt consumption over a short period of time, which raises blood pressure a little bit and therefore the conclusion is that salt is dangerous.

The third method is to pick out places where people consume a lot of salt and cardiovascular diseases are frequent. This was done both in Japan and Finland. Then the big health educational campaign is put in place to try and show that as salt consumption goes down, cardiovascular diseases go down.

The problem with this method is that salt is usually not the only thing people do to improve their health. Usually health campaigns also push less sugar use, stop smoking, exercise more etc. So salt consumption is a part of a bigger package.

The biggest benefit of reducing salt consumption is probably that with it you have to reduce the consumption of processed food. So it’s not the salt that’s killing you, it’s the other artificial chemicals in processed food.

One of the studies that’s considered the biggest body of evidence for the danger of salt and used as example for doctors worldwide contains this exact flaw. It’s the DASH diet study conducted in the 1990s.

The DASH diet is a very healthy diet that includes mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat proteins, low fat-dairy and whole grains. It’s low in sugar and fructose and of course, very low in salt. The DASH diet also restricts alcohol and coffee use.

So what was the conclusion after 459 innocent people were sentenced to a few versions of this wonderful diet for 3-5 years? Predictably, the diet did lower blood pressure slightly. On the average 5.5 mm/Hg for systolic and 3.0 mm/Hg for diastolic blood pressure. This could put borderline hypertension under control.

For those already suffering hypertension the average improvement was even better. They experienced 11.4 mm/Hg slash in their systolic and 5.5 mm/Hg in their diastolic numbers.

Again, you can’t complain about results like these. However, considering the extreme diet changes many people had to make, the numbers are not really drastic. Studies have shown that drinking 250ml of fresh beet juice daily produce pretty much the same results, and without changing a single other thing in lifestyle.

Now the researchers took things even farther and reduced the salt consumption in the next study from 3000mg/day to 1500mg/day compared to the previous study. The average blood pressure dropped even more; down 8.9/4.5 mm/Hg. The average blood pressure drop for those already suffering hypertension (where it really mattered) almost stood still at 11.5/5.7 mm/Hg drop (compared with 11.4/5.5 when using twice as much salt).

This tells you that it was really the diet change, mostly increasing vegetables and fruits as well as reducing sugar intake that played the biggest role in lowering blood pressure for those who already had high blood pressure or pre-hypertension.

Lowering salt intake for those who already have it healthy doesn’t do anyone any good and may actually be dangerous.

The DASH study also didn’t report if people following the diet had any less frequency of stroke or heart attack than those on traditional diets. As the studies we discussed earlier show, lowering salt intake may lower blood pressure- marginally- but it may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

So what we should take from the DASH study is that drastically improving the quality of your diet can bring your blood pressure down. If you have borderline hypertension, this maybe all you need.

Although there’s no excuse to go overboard with salt use, there is also no reason to completely abandon the saltshaker. You’re actually better of avoiding most of the processed food and then allow yourself instead to spread a good quality salt on your steak and baked potato.

Because even more importantly than how much salt you use is what kind of salt you use.

The salt in most saltshakers and almost all processed food has little similarity to natural salt.

Part of the processing of processed salt, which is the most widely used, is cooking it at high temperatures. This completely changes its structure. The remaining process is chemical cleansing.

Then, more dangerous chemicals are added such as ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate, which count for about 2.5% of the final product.

Natural salt, on the other hand, contains only 84 % sodium chloride; the remaining 16% is made of other natural minerals such as silicon, phosphorous and vanadium. Even in natural salt there can be some man-made chemicals such as moisture resistance and then maybe a little added iodine. But those chemicals are kept to the minimum.

Since we use relatively small amounts of salt, it’s well worth going for a little pricier, good quality natural salt. Unrefined sea salt found in your local health food store is a great option.

The healthiest salt in my opinion is an ancient, all-natural, unrefined sea salt from the Himalayas. It’s spent thousands of years maturing under great pressure. Not only is it extremely healthy, it’s also so yummy that many of the top chefs in the world refuse to use anything else.

Every study ever made on salt consumption has mostly consisted of highly processed salt. And yet, researchers found very little, if any, connection between salt and diseases. If people were asked to actually increase their salt intake but use unrefined, all-natural salt, I believe it would actually improve peoples’ health.

So my suggestion is instead of abandoning the salt-shaker altogether, focus on a healthy, good quality diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Then, if you really want to see a drastic drop in your blood pressure, pick up Christian Goodman’s high blood pressure program. This program is proven to drop your blood pressure below 120/80 as soon as today.

Learn more about Christian’s blood pressure program here…

If high cholesterol is your concern, follow the proven strategy I used to bring my cholesterol down to normal and eliminate the plaque buildup in my heart.

Learn more about my 26-day cholesterol plan here…

But first, before doing anything else, please leave your comment below.

But first, I’d really appreciate it if you click the Facebook button below and share this articles with your friends. And then, of course, submit your comment below.

32 comments

  1. Yeah. Told you so…pass the salt.

  2. mr Graham Richards

    i found the article on salt very informative. I will be seeking out the un refined sea salt from the Himalayas.

    Many thanks.

  3. Thanks for that info very interesting-I have never bought into the no/low salt view. I use everything in moderation, have a good fresh food diet and do lots of exercise. Cheers.

  4. An entirely different view of salt intake and your blood pressure/overall health. I'll be looking for unrefined sea salt from the Himalayas.

  5. The article provides useful and interesting new information which debunks the previous thinking on salt intake to a great extent.

  6. Well surprise, surprise, surprise Gomer! How lucky am I to have ignored all of the past hype re low fat, low salt, don’t eat eggs blah blah blah! Was all the altered food available 50 years ago? I am amused how people have taken the advice of the ‘medical establishment’ without question like lemmings re findings from so called studies.
    The reality is that mass production of foods has involved value adding including altering foods to make them more attractive to consumers which has included all sorts of additives including processed salt, sugar, preservativies, flavour enhancers etc.
    A diet close to way we find it is what we have evolved with over the past million years or so and is what we need to focus on to regain a healthy life, unfortunately we are constantly pressed to consume, consume, consume to maintain company profits with scant regard for the health of the general population, thanks for your informative website.

  7. I have read some where that good hand processed sea salt do actually lower blood pressure.( apparently sodium is necessary to control blood pressure )
    This salt is not white but slightly grey and moist.
    there is a brand made in France from the “channel” coast available in supermarkets .
    Ironically this is one of the most polluted water on earth
    Cheers
    Guy

  8. Very interesting! As a nurse I have not always agree with MD advice.

  9. Tracey A. Clark

    My comment would be why don't you frickin share the info for free if you ar so concerened instead of making a buck..I know I would share for free if I thought it would help others.

  10. The Salt theory is like other excuses for doing these studies that give excuses for a sick society.We need to get to the cause of sickness.The network of nerves need to be functioning without interference to maintain the physiology in a state of homeostasis is the best place to start in wellness.

  11. How can Himalayan salt (from the mountains) be sea salt? I use Maldon coarse salt. Is that good? S.M.

  12. One other thing – since so many people are on salt restricted diets, there is now an increase in iodine deficiency. That may account for the increased risk of other disease.

  13. I agree with Tracey, I would want to help as many people as possible with this kind of info! Why don't doctors know about this B.P. book?

  14. Yes I do agree with your article and it is 100% correct about the quality of salt you use. Please keep issuing these articles as you will be teaching people what doctors do not tell them.

  15. I have also read similar facts about salt; especially “one special” natural salt from the area of France, as being the most “natural” salt containing all the minerals the human body needs. Of course, the article was from a health newsletter, and I could find out what “kind” of salt this was, by ordering the newsletter for an amount of money. They gave the salt the title of “magic’ salt.

    Wish my printer was not jammed; I would like to copy this article, Scott. I have often wondered how and why “our” salt was perfect sparkling “white”. I am especially glad to hear that the Himalayan salt has iodine in it naturally. Your article has more information on salt and the relation to heart problems and I love the statistics. I wondered about those too, and how large or small they really were. Thanks, Scott. I am going to be looking for both of those types of salt immediately!!!

  16. Ez a cikk koránt sem az els?, mindenki számára megszívlelend? tartalmú cikk, amelyik arról számol be, hogy a sófogyasztás csökkentése egyetlen tényez? szolgálatába áll, az "egészség-business"-ében! People, do eat salt without being frightend! You were/are simply misled even by the health care authoroties!

  17. Brian Cotgrove

    I read above it is all about the kind of salt one consumes, if you use the common and garden commercial “Sodium Chloride” (the kind that the supermarket sells) well, that in itself could be a huge problem, however if you use the kind which is readily available from your local health store ‘Natural Sea Salt” or the like, it is far better for you.
    Way back in the nineteen fifties my mother endured a diet as bland as cardboard and paper (her expression) she had heart disease and high blood pressure and that (removing salt from her diet) in itself didn’t make the slightest difference to either conditions, in fact, as I wrote on this forum only a few days ago she died of Congestive Heart Failure in 1958.
    Unfortunately there is salt in everything you buy today, especially if you buy a lot of “Processed Canned/Packet Food” and that also is a big problem, as salt being used as a flavour enhancer and claimed as a food preservative, is, in most cases, “Sodium Chloride”.
    While writing about “Flavour Enhancers” what ever you do, “Don’t Mention MSG”, that’s an ever bigger Pandora’s Box…………?

  18. Good information on salt. Thanks for the exposure.

    Ndu

  19. I had to smile when reading your article about salt. I was advised by my MD in 1960 that I had an allergy to table salt. My MD (now deceased) told me to not use any supermarket salt, but salt from a health food store was okay, because I was allergic to the chemicals in processed salt. For the last 40 years I shyed away from using salted items as much as possible. I found eating organic seaweed products (ie:kelp) kept my iodine levels at “normal” levels during this time. I was glad to find, in 1990, that natural organic Himalayian salt did not give me an allergy reaction. I do still monitor my salt intake, and reject any processed food with more than 100mg of salt.

    Thank you for this article. Many DRs and nurses did not believe I could be allergic to the chemicals in processed salt only and advised me just to not use any salt. I am copying this article for the next medical person that does not believe me.

  20. You are correct on the salt information as I have also read from many other health promoters, for example Dr. Mercola and Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. I have also heard that the sea salt, which used to be very good, is now becoming polluted with mercury and other heavy metals. The best salt now is the Himalayan sea salt. Keep up the good work Scott Davis.

  21. Very interesting theory. I have been trying to get my bloodpressure down for years and even on drugs it stays between 150/90 to 170/90.
    I am completely off drugs now and off salt and sugar, coffee, alcohol, nearly vegetarian, juicing and off the drugs. My blood pressure is still 165/90. I started Christian’s bloodpressure program yesterday, so I am looking forward to see the results. Very interested in articles like this.
    Keep up the good works

  22. I’m afraid we have made doctors gods and now they believe it. Whenever I recommend that colleagues read up on these items, I’m often told to mind my own business as I’m not a doctor. But how many times do they query the information the doctor gives them and then they end up with terrible reactions to the drugs they are prescribed? Duretic drugs are not good for the kidneys, not always salt causing the problem. If the swellings in your body go down overnight, we were told at college to check out the persons liquid intake before sending them to their doctor.

  23. I have noticed that my consumption of any salt-free foods, trigger a craving for sweet foods. This article is very informative re natural & sea salts.
    Thanks.

  24. Have used nothing but Sea Salt for years. [I am 78 y/o] I put my sea salt on ‘over easy’ eggs [3-5 times a week] with toast and BUTTER. Never agreed with doctors on cutting out my eggs. Total cholesterol ranges between 190-225. I manage a slightly elevated blood pressure by increasing my potassium intake. I drink 8 oz of V8 juice daily for it has about 1000+ mg of potassium. Keeps my BP below 140/85 most of the time. I monitor my own BP 5-10 times/wk and eat a banana [also very high in potassium] if my BP gets much above 145/80. I add 5 drops of Lugol’s solution [iodine]to my V8 juice about 2-4 times a week. We have a 50 acre ranchette where we grow hay and have a few horses for pets. I do most all my own maintenance. My theory is to stay as far away from doctors as possible and even further away from hospitals. I do take supplemental vit’s and herbs but not a single prescription med. I might add, contrary to my doctor’s advice. He wants me to take BP med’s and get my BP below 120/75.

    Anyway, loved the article.. Great work. I fwd it to my entire contacts list.

  25. Very interesting article. Everything is fine except “Himalayan Sea Salt”. Is it a brand name of a salt product? Because there is no sea there in the Himalayan Mountain range.

  26. Well, great info. Our family is used to eat a little bit of salt normally. As we once in a while go out for dinner etc., we all find everything really salty. That is the opposite side of normal use and self cooking, no cans. So we enjoy the food less, because it is more salty as we are used to.
    Is it better to put the salt in later and not to cook with it? Guessing it doesn’t taste as good. My mom said always to me; you always can add more salt to it on your plate, but never can take it away.

  27. Salt is White! We at the Maine Sea Salt Company get our ocean water from Machias Bay near the bay of Fundy. We use Greenhouses to evaporate the water naturally (no heat but the sun). When all water is evaporated the salt that remains is pure WHITE. We harvest, grind, and package it. All minerals are left in tack and no drying agents. We use Dusle Seaweed taken from the bay of fundy to add iodine to our salt if that is what you are looking for – no chemicals.
    We give tours at our place so you can see for your self our method and sample the salt. I know this sounds like I am advertising but I happen to be very proud and hope to educate people on salt.
    The article is correct we have too much of a chemical induced society. No wonder everyone’s body rejects the salt intake! We are not made of chemicals.

  28. I agree with you totaly. I have always been a big salt user and for the
    past severasl years i have been using himalaian sea salt which is a little
    more expensive but well worth it. I am 80 yrs old and in pretty good health
    I dont like to go to doctors and i have been going to a holistic doctor for
    the last 3 yrs who got her education in Japan and really has helped me allot.
    This is a slow process but sticking with it is worth it the only set back is
    insurance does not cover it but i dont care and this is the problem with
    health care in America they should be spending more money on prevention which
    would lower health care costs tremendosly people should take more responsibilty for there health instead of misusing their bodies and then run
    to a doctor and he or she puts them on drugs instead of trying to find the
    cause instead of treating the symtom.The old saying an ounce of prevention is
    worth a pound of cure a good example is the reduction in smoking which i am
    sure well save lots of money in the long run. The problem is goverments make money on taxes from alcohol and cigaretts but pay out much more for health care than they collect in taxes.

  29. Exact research study references are very important in order to relay the information to other people of interest.

  30. we shd learn from the farmers how they keep their cows healthy.
    commercialization of medical science has played havoc.
    Pseudo studies are rampant.
    Myth making is a great business.
    Plenty of nonsense is promoted in the name of science based on lies/statastics.
    Listening to own body response and avoiding processed and packaged food is good.

  31. This salt article is the most concise and complete info I have found on salt, and I have been collecting info like this for some years. I have 5 boxes of health newsletters, and much of these belong to you, Blue Heron Health News. Many of these are full of recipes; Now I am glad I have my mother’s old tall 5 drawer file cabinet. I am going to relegate one entire long file, and maybe two, so I can reach my health news and my recipes in the garage while sitting down. I spend so much time reading and re-reading them. I cannot sit in the chair in front of my pc to keep them all there. My bones have a disease, and I have to move them around more often. I pass along a lot of my information to relatives and friends, along with your name, Blue Heron Health News. Hope they look you up. taylor

  32. I find blueheron health news very informative interesting . in India as far as I know there are 4to5 types of salts there is the sea salt , black salt, rock salt it’s light pink in colour and I have BP so use this rock salt .The black salt is good for stomach problems Gas digestion then there is the ordinary white salt with iodine added. Any thing taken in moderation is better.

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