Tag Archives: salt

Scientific Reviews Support the Paleo Prescription for Potassium and Sodium

A pinch of salt helps reduce bitterness in coffee

A pinch of salt helps reduce bitterness in coffee

Most of us have heard that reducing salt (sodium) intake is supposed to be good for us, although even that’s debatable. Fewer have heard that higher potassium may healthful. Those diet characteristics—low sodium and high potassium—are naturally incorporated into the Paleolithic diet (aka Stone Age, caveman, hunter-gatherer or paleo diet).

Read MedPageToday for details.

The association between sodium restriction and lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality is a confusing mess. My gut feeling is that strict sodium avoidance is important for only 20% of the population, at most.

But make no mistake: If I were on the cusp of drug therapy for high blood pressure, I’d cut my sodium to 3 grams a day, lose excess weight, increase my potassium consumption, and get regular exercise, all in an effort to avoid drugs. (If my blood pressure was 170/103 or higher, I’d go on drugs, make all those lifestyle changes, then try to reduce my drugs later.)

From MedPageToday:

However, the assertion that reduced salt intake will have beneficial effects on disease outcomes contradicts the results of a 2011 meta-analysis, which failed to show significant relationships between reduced salt intake and mortality or cardiovascular outcomes.

Harvard Physician Recommends More Potassium, Less Sodium

…to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. Those mineral trends are natural with the paleo diet, although not mentioned by Dr. Pande.

For detail: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/getting-more-potassium-and-less-salt-may-cut-heart-attack-stroke-risk-201304126067

Are We Eating Too Much Salt?

Unfairly demonized?

Most paleo diets are quite a bit lower in salt and sodium than standard American diets.  At the same time, they should be quite a bit higher in potassium, which may be very healthy.

Every 10 years or so, “the powers that be” make a push for population-wide salt restriction thinking that it will prevent cardiovascular disease and associated premature death.  The American Council on  Science and Health has a brief review of the latest research on salt restriction, and it’s not supportive of population-wide sodium restriction.

Remember, table salt molecules contain one sodium atom and one chloride atom.  Salt-restricted and low-sodium diets are usually designated by the amount of sodium, not salt.

That being said, I do believe some individuals have elevated blood pressure related to relatively high sodium intake.  This may apply to one of every five adults with high blood pressure.  To find out if you’re one of the five, you could go on a low-sodium diet—1.5 to 3 grams a day—for one or two months and see what it does to your blood pressure.  Get your personal physician’s blessing first.

Steve Parker, M.D.