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Who do you trust for health news?

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WebMD, a source of information for practicing physicians, posted an article by Steven Reinberg on April 2, 2014 titled CDC Salt Guidelines Too Low for Good Health, Study Suggests. If WebMD had posted this on April 1, 2014, we might have thought that the article was an April Fool’s joke.

The article is based upon a Danish study that found that too much or too little salt was dangerous to health. The review author Dr. Niels Graudal, a senior research consultant at Copenhagen University Hospital summarized the findings.

"For most people, there is no reason to change their dietary habits concerning salt, as most people eat what appears to be the safest amount."

If you go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you will find the official government guidelines for salt in the article Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium.

The CDC guidelines are 2,300 mg of sodium per day for most people, with 1,500 mg of sodium for those with heart disease, a prior family history of high blood pressure or over 50 years of age. African-Americans are identified as being at higher risk than the overall population for high blood pressure.

Gradual summarized the findings of the meta-study.

"Salt intake above 12,000 mg [milligrams] is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. The same effect is seen at the other end of the spectrum, when too little salt is taken in each day. The safest range is between 2,645 and 4,945 mg of salt a day.”

Janelle Gunn, a public health analyst in the CDC's division for heart disease and stroke prevention, had this to day about the new study.

"Nearly everyone benefits from reduced sodium consumption. Ninety percent of Americans exceed the general daily recommended sodium intake limit of 2,300 mg, increasing their risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke."

The real source of the problem may be the way the study was done. This was another “meta-study” in which 25 prior studies were grouped together to arrive at this new conclusion. The specific parameters of the test groups are often inappropriately combined, and key knowledge is often lacking by the analyzers of the other peoples’ works.

Another recent meta-study concluded that the only fat that is linked to heart disease is trans fat, which is hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils. This study suggested that you do not need to worry about total fat or saturated fat found in meat because their analysis indicated that of the data did not correlate total fat or saturated fat to increase heart disease or mortality.

Let’s take a look at what the Harvard Medical School has to say about fats with regard to heart disease.

“Detailed research shows that the total amount of fat in the diet isn’t really linked with weight or disease. What really matters is the type of fat and the total calories in the diet.

  • Bad fats, meaning trans and saturated fats, increase the risk for certain diseases.
  • Good fats, meaning monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, do just the opposite. They are good for the heart and most other parts of the body.”

The object of this article is to point out the clearly contradictory health information provided by “experts” with regard to major dietary guidelines. Common sense says that living on processed foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium is going to lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

The statistics for the US confirm that people are increasingly obese, diabetic, suffering from high blood pressure and dying from heart disease and kidney failure. If you want to take the expert opinions over common sense and real disease statistics, feel free to get the bacon double cheeseburger with the giant soft drink and the large fries. Bon appetit.

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