Is Salt The Problem?

The CDC is urging primary care physicians to talk to patients about ways to lower their sodium intake by about a quarter teaspoon of salt each day.  Their senior scientist said that this would ” prevent thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke a year and save billions in health care dollars”.  This came from an article in the American Medical News.  The article goes on to talk about how ubiquitous sodium is in our foods.    Mary Cogswell co-wrote a study showing that ten types of food account for 44% of the dietary sodium that Americans consume each day.  She said, “sodium consumption is directly related to hypertension, which is a primary risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. That’s why it’s really important to identify the food sources.”  Here is the problem.  I am not sure she isn’t just talking out her arse.   More and more we are finding that salt really isn’t the culprit in these problems.  A recent European study last May that was published in JAMA showed that people who ate lots of salt were not more likely to get high blood pressure and were less likely to die of heart disease than those with a low salt intake.  That author stated that “it’s clear that one should be very careful in advocating generalized reduction in sodium intake in the population at large. There might be some benefits, but there might also be some adverse effects.”

So let’s just break this down.  Cogswell uses old research claiming that sodium is directly related to hypertension.  She then finds that a ton of food we eat has lots of sodium (as well as carbs and bad fats) and she connects the wrong dots.  And this is from the head of the CDC?


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  3 comments for “Is Salt The Problem?

  1. big picture doc
    March 1, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Read Brownsteins’s book “Salt Your Way to Health”
    Agree that salt restriction for those without hypertension is a mistake. You also have to eat the “right ” salt

  2. Matt Callaway, MD
    February 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    The only way to save “billions” of medical dollars is to quit putting grandma in the ICU for futile interventions in the last six months of life…..

    • Joyce
      February 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

      AMEN TO THAT!!!!!

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