Salts been demonized a long time in the mainstream.
Supposedly it causes high blood pressure, you should limit it, its bad for you…
Here is why all of this is wrong.
Salt is ESSENTIAL for Metabolic Health
Without salt, we would not be able to live
We NEED salt for normal physiological function
- to pump blood
- regulate appetite
- contract muscle tissue
- digest food
- formation of bones
- transmission of nerve impulses
- thyroid function
Sodium is used in thousands of metabolic processes. The condition of blood becoming diluted is called Hyponatremia.
If we had no salt in our bodies at all, we would die.
Salt has been known to be essential for health since the dawn of recorded history
Salt is LINDY (to use a term from Taleb)
Salt has been traded for millennia, much of it in ancient times was sourced from the Sahara and coasts of Africa.
A pound of salt was worth 1lb of gold.
Its estimated that the Romans consumed 25 grams of salt daily. 16th century Europeans 40 grams a day, and 18th century Europeans 70 grams a day.
Fermented foods have been a staple of civilizations for forever.
Salt is anti-microbial, fermented foods promote digestive health.
Salt is NOT addictive
The body has a “Salt Thermostat”. It regulates intake and excretion. If you consume more than you need, its expressed through sweat and urine, and you will naturally drink more water to balance it.
Our kidneys internally filter between 3.2 – 3.6 pounds of salt (1.28 and 1.44 pounds of sodium) per day. Our bodys need that much salt to function
This is 150x times than we consume through diet, yet were are told that too much salt will be “bad” for us.
Salt does NOT cause High Blood pressure
You would think there is a ton of scientific evidence for all of salts negative health effects…and there is not.
In 1977 when low salt intake was first suggested, the US Surgeon general at the time admitted there was no real evidence.
The idea was entirely speculative, with some weak correlation data.
Salt intake -> sometimes it acutely can raise blood pressure ->people with heart attacks often have high blood pressure
=The salt must be causing heart problems
This “sounded” good in theory, but in practice…
It ended up being BULLSHIT.
Based on current evidence, 80% of people with normal blood pressure are not sensitive to the supposed “blood pressure” raising effects of salt AT ALL.
People with prehypertension-75% aren’t affected by salt.
People with hypertension-55% aren’t affected.
Reducing blood pressure by a few points makes little difference in overall health, and focusing on salt overlooks the only real, evidence based way you can improve cardiovascular
Bodyfat reduction through DIET and EXERCISE.
Reduced salt intake CAUSES more problems than it supposedly solves
- -low salt intake contributes to increased triglyceride cholesterol levels
- -can increase insulin levels because insulin helps the kidneys retain more sodium
- -reduces thyroid function
Combine low salt intake and low fat intake, and you get the failed modern diet
- -No satiety
- -screwed up signaling of hunger hormones
- -dysregulated metabolism
Is is surprising that so many people fail to lose bodyfat following these suggestions?
To add to the clusterfuck, reduced salt intake will lower fertility in animals, reduces fertility in women, and reduces sperm motility in men
Why are we limiting salt intake? WHY?
Increases in blood pressure can be balanced out with Potassium intake
Rather than reduce salt, increase potassium . Recommended intake is 3.5-5 grams per day.
This also circles back to the earlier point
The two PROVEN ways to reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular risk
- -Reducing excess bodyfat and being normal bodyweight
High blood pressure is a symptom of obesity, not a cause
Salt and Satiety
Salt is universally known as a flavoring agent. It also helps increase stomach acid production (stomach acid itself contains chloride)
Consuming food with zero salt intake impedes digestion and can contribute to acid reflux.
As a side note:
Low-carb diets lower insulin levels, which leads to the kidneys excreting excess sodium from the body
This can inadvertently lead to a mild sodium deficiency, which leads to reduced blood flow when working out
If low carb dieting, be sure to supplement.
Salt and Athletics
It is well established that athletes need more salt intake due to the loss of sodium when sweating
Consuming an additional 1,000 mg per hour of exercise is a useful heuristic
Exercise for 2 hours? Consume 2 grams
Salt tablets are immensely useful.
If we need salt and sodium for peak performance, its very strange that we suddenly dont need to be “healthy”
Another example of how the “conventional wisdom” on salt makes no logical sense when examined critically