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← Myth-Making: Say It Often, People Will Believe

mmurray's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by mmurray

Comment 10 by Pete H :

A more harmful myth was in the news today: that there never has been scientific evidence supporting the idea that salt is bad for people. If anything there are people whose health has been harmed by a mistaken belief that they need to minimise their sodium intake.

Apparently scientists remain unconvinced because they want proof that something everyone believes is true cannot be true. And to prove that eating salt is not harmful requires feeding people salt - which would be an unethical experiment because of the consensus medical belief that salt is toxic.

The media in NZ as well as elsewhere seem to have missed the point on this Cochrane Review. What it actually found was that getting people to lower dietary intake of sodium didn't achieve much of a sodium reduction, hence not much BP decrease, presumably hence not much health impact.

Professor Rod Taylor, the lead researcher of the review, is ‘completely dismayed’ at the headlines that distort the message of his research published today. Having spoken to BBC Scotland, and to CASH, he clarified that the review looked at studies where people were advised to reduce salt intake compared to those who were not and found no differences, this is not because reduced salt doesn’t have an effect but because it’s hard to reduce salt intake for a long time. He stated that people should continue to strive to reduce their salt intake to reduce their blood pressure, but that dietary advice alone is not enough, calling for further government and industry action.

The point is probably that there is just so much salt in processed food. See

for details.

The media love these kinds of "nanny-state" stories. So much so they seem to want to write their own.


Sun, 04 Sep 2011 08:55:18 UTC | #867104