Smorgasbord Health – Nutrition in the news – Salt – we may have been getting it all wrong!

Smorgasbord Health 2017I have been a nutritional therapist for nearly 20 years, and one of the essential elements of my work has been to remain informed of new research as it becomes available. This has sometimes turned previously held beliefs on their head, and these latest findings from Dr. James DiNicolantonio certainly qualifies as that.

I have always watched my salt intake as high blood pressure has been a family health concern. I have also been obese for a great many years of my life and certainly have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight. I do not take any medication of any kind and I have worked to keep my blood pressure at normal levels.

However, if this new research is to be believed, I may well have been going about this the wrong way by reducing my salt levels too far.  I have read several articles written by Dr. DiNicolatonio and I am sharing excerpts from two that I suggest you read and consider.

I am not suggesting that you suddenly dive into the salt pot and certainly not to stop taking any medication. I am however excited to discover more about this line of research and will be looking into it in more detail when the book is published.

Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life

For more than 40 years, we’ve been told eating too much salt is killing us. Doctors say it’s as bad for our health as smoking or not exercising, and government guidelines limit us to just under a teaspoon a day.

We’re told not to cook with it and not to sprinkle it on our meals. The white stuff is not just addictive, goes the message — it’s deadly. Too much of it causes high blood pressure, which in turn damages our hearts. We must learn to live — joylessly, flavourlessly but healthily — without it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that all of that is wrong. As a leading cardiovascular research scientist — based at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Missouri — I’ve contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature.

I am associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and I sit on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals.
In my work, I’ve examined data from more than 500 medical papers and studies about salt. And this is what I’ve learned: there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this low salt idea. What’s more, as I explain in my new book, eating too little of it can cause insulin resistance, increased fat storage and may even increase the risk of diabetes — not to mention decreasing our sex drive.

Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium, which translates to 6g of salt (or sodium chloride) or slightly less than a teaspoonful.

If you have high blood pressure, or belong to a group considered to be at greater risk of developing it — such as being over 60 or Afro-Caribbean — doctors even advise you to cut your intake to two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day.

Yet salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies depend on to live. And those limits go against all our natural instincts. When people are allowed as much salt as they fancy, they tend to settle at about a teaspoon-and-a-half a day. This is true all over the world, across all cultures, climates and social backgrounds.

Read the rest of the article:

The Mineral Deficiency That’s Making You Gain Weight by Dr James DiNicolantonio

“Salted foodstuffs make people slim, whereas sweet ones make them fat.” —Pliny (A.D. 23 to A.D. 79), an ancient Roman author and philosopher

We’ve been told for decades to hold the salt at the dinner table for the sake of our hearts and blood pressure. The anti-salt campaign has blurred the picture about what salt actually does for us—besides making everything taste better. Salt is an essential mineral that has many vital functions in the body, which I go into more in my new book, The Salt Fix. Since we lose salt every day through sweat and urine, we need to consume some salt in order to live.

What happens when we aren’t getting the salt we need?

When our bodies become depleted in salt, the brain seems to react by sensitizing the reward system—and not just the reward system for salt, but the same reward system that drives us to other pleasurable activities. The purpose of that sensitization is that when we eat salt it induces a greater reward than usual, leading to an increase intake of salt. This primitive “reptilian” response in the brain is over 100 million years old and it has carried over from our ancient ancestors. Its goal is to keep us alive by preventing or quickly fixing a salt deficit in the body. In other words, the brain controls our salt fix.
In our modern world, though, this reward system, intended to save our lives after salt deficit, could be inadvertently leading to weight gain, and even obesity.

Read the rest of this revolutionary post on the subject of salt in our diet:

The Salt Fix by Dr James DiNicolantonio, to be published by Piatkus Books on June 6 at £13.99.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, is the author of The Salt Fix, and a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition, he has contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature. He serves as the associate editor of British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, a journal published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society. He is also on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals, including Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases and International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (IJCPT). For more information on Dr. DiNicolantonio, please visit

Available for pre-order:

And another reason to ‘Cook from Scratch’ based on a Russian study.

Do you believe high amounts of salt provoke thirst and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease? If so, you’re likely wrong. Studies have consistently failed to support either of these notions, showing the converse is actually true. Here’s a summary of findings that may surprise you:

• Eating large amounts of salt will not make you thirsty or cause greater urine output (which could lead to dehydration). A study1 involving Russian cosmonauts reveal eating more salt actually lowered their thirst — yet increased hunger.2,3 Recent animal research4 support these results, showing a high-salt diet resulted in increased metabolism, forcing the animals to eat 25 percent more calories just to maintain weight. This suggests salt may have a surprising influence on your weight

• Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and processed foods are typically low in potassium and high in sodium

• Studies suggest a low-salt diet can actually worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease5

• The vast majority, approximately 71 percent, of your salt intake comes from processed food.6 Hence, if you avoid processed foods, you have virtually no risk of consuming too much salt.7 Eating a whole food diet will also ensure a more appropriate sodium-to-potassium ratio

• When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers started adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, eye damage,8 fatigue and depression. Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease

Read the rest of the article here:

About Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Joseph Mercola is a New York Times bestselling author with a shelf of books on health.

My motivation, whether you are a member of the community or have just heard about me for the first time, is to make you as healthy as you can possibly be. This involves:

Providing the most up-to-date natural health information and resources that will most benefit you and,

Exposing corporate, government, and mass media hype that diverts you away from what is truly best for your health and often to a path that leads straight into an early grave. is not, in other words, a tool to get me a bigger house and car, or to run for Senate. I fund this site, and therefore, am not handcuffed to any advertisers, silent partners, or corporate parents.

Read the rest of Dr. Mercola’s impressive C.V. here:

A reminder again that this is not a recommendation that you stop taking medication and suddenly start eating high levels of salt. But, as always I do recommend that you stay away from industrially produced foods and add salt to your food as you prepare and then eat.

Whilst you may spend a little more time in the kitchen preparing fresh ingredients think of it in terms of adding years to your lifespan!


56 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health – Nutrition in the news – Salt – we may have been getting it all wrong!

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health – Nutrition in the news – Salt – we may have been getting it all wrong! | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. I read about the research findings recently and it cheered me up no end! I’ve always used ‘too much’ salt on my food to much disapproving head shaking from friends and family with warnings of hardening arteries, blood pressure problems, etc. I look forward to hearing more about the research though no doubt other scientists will decry it immediately. In the meantime, I don’t feel so guilty about eating what to me is tasty food.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree Mary.. David’s father was a salt lover.. and he was nearly 94! My mother liked it too and she was nearly 95. I used to use lo-salt but have been taking sea-salt for the last few weeks and my blood pressure is unaffected. We don’t each much packaged foods or sugar and I must admit to enjoying salt..especially on fish and chips.. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. salt, GOOD salt is necessary for our bodies to eliminate properly. I add salt to the foods I cook because the foods I cook do not have salt. However, I am convinced that the iodized salt that is what most people find on the tables in restaurants, in prepackaged foods, etc. is NOT a good salt. i use sea salt or pink crystal salt

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love salt. I put salt on everything. (Food, too.) 😉 This is a well-known fact about me. I actually get gifts of different sea salts from all over the world for holidays and birthdays. They are delicious! 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting article Sal. And of course, it’s like anything else, too much is not good either.
    I always cook from scratch and cook with sea salt for taste, thus we never add salt after the meal is cooked in our house.
    I do believe we need certain amounts of sodium for all the functions mentioned in the article. In fact, our naturopath had told hub to up his salt intake after his last labs which measure all the mineral levels in his body to make sure they’re all playing nice together. 🙂 Remember what they used to say about eggs and cholesterol? Little did they know then about the HDL vs LDL. Revelations abound! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Geez, whatever happened to listening to our bodies? What’s in today is out tomorrow. In the grand scheme of things, medical science knows little about physiology. Too much ‘evidence’ is based on vivisection and not enough on human subject clinical trials. When you add the avarice of pharmaceutical companies to the mix, it’s no wonder there are conflicting views on just about everything! Like you said, cooking from scratch and eating whole foods is the safest diet; and in my opinion, that includes unadulterated salt and sugar. Processed and fast foods are the culprits. Great find, Sally. Thanks so much for sharing 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the article Sally. I have slightly elevated blood pressure but have always used very little salt. Every time I see a program about it I worry. Recently one said 1 slice of wholemeal bread contained as much as 7 bags of crisps…. I almost cried Bang goes my crisp butties! This article is reassuring in that it redresses the balance. So thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many factors involved in normal blood pressure and part of the problem with modern human studies is that we are all flawed test subjects. Apart from unique genetics we all have experienced different illnesses, lifestyle choices, exposure to contaminants and toxins and normal wear and tear. The only thing that I do know is that when I ate a mainly industrialised food diet I was ill. Despite the fact that I am not anywhere near a slinky, slim shape I am not on any medication as many of my age group are. If 80% of your diet is made up of natural food sources (including frozen vegetables etc) then eating a wholemeal crisp sandwich from time to time is not going to make a blind bit if difference.


  8. I saw something about this too, Sally! I must say it seems to be a little hard to take in as it goes against everything we have been taught… Having said that, if there is merit in it and we have been depriving ourselves for no good reason, then I will re-consider my intake of salt as I hardly use it at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that the science behind the current recommendations is flawed Judy and outdated. It is also very difficult to determine the accuracy of most human trials when so much of our food is industrialised with added salt, sugar and other chemical enhancements that could be the real cause of elevated blood pressure. I do know after many years of cooking 80% of our food from scratch that we like you may have been consuming too little.. except when we lived in Spain where we took more because of the heat and loss of fluids. Anyway.. it does make for some interesting research and I have upped my salt intake slightly and will see how I go. hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please keep us informed Sally as this really is very interesting especially as I have heard that too little salt can cause muscle cramps and I suffer with cramp a LOT!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That could be down to a couple of things Judy and the most common is a lack of magnesium, calcium or potassium. The most likely cause is not enough magnesium in the diet especially if you are not eating wholegrains and wheatgerm. You need to increase beans, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, dried apricots and fish. I do take a calcium and magnesium supplement in liquid form. I used for PMS cramping and now to prevent leg cramps with the increased walking. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is interesting Sally as I didn’t consider being lacking in magnesium. I am totally fed up with the low carb diet now as I do not seem to have got anywhere for ages with it despite also taking Orlistat (prescribed) I am going to start afresh soon. I had already bookmarked your list of ingredients to go to and once I have got some meal ideas sorted, I am going to try introducing some carbs back in (wholegrain) and cutting back on some of the processed stuff I am overly fond of! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did try going carb free about 15 years ago and I eventually found a balance that suited me. I have carbs at breakfast, some mid afternoon and none with my lunch and evening meal. Now I have upped my exercise I have increased that slightly so that two lunches a week we have carbs which is great if you like curry or spaghetti bolognaise. I use brown bastmati and wholegrain pasta. I also eat carrots and parsnips together.. as root vegetables they provide fibre and carbs. Also the cook from scratch that went out today can be adjusted to have less brown rice or be made with things like Quinoa etc. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. An interesting factual post Sally and since living here we have upped our salt intake I do use pink salt or now I live near salt flats pure mineral salt. My blood pressure interestingly and good has gone down…The reading says normal…I did google it to confirm because I have never been normal…lol Reblogged. Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

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