A new European study that purportedly shows low-sodium diets to be ineffective in preventing high blood pressure, and even more unlikely, that they increase the risk of death from heart attack or stroke, is being published in the May 4 issue of JAMA, and predictably it’s already excited a variety of comments in Gina Kolata’s current New York Times article from the CDC and from…Dr. Michael Alderman.
Predictably, because the CDC researchers think too few people were studied for too short a time with unreliable methods (24-hour urine collection to measure sodium intake indirectly, after the fact as it were.)
Alderman’s reaction was also predictable: he’s still insisting that only a nation-wide feeding study sort of clinical trial that follows its subjects until they die is sufficient to prove a true link between sodium intake and cardiovascular disease. Something so expensive and unwieldy it couldn’t be completed even if it were started, and we’d still be waiting around 30 years later wondering if salt had anything to do with heart attacks or strokes. Very convenient for the processed food industry, but pretty useless for public health. And also conveniently, Gina Kolata found more than one expert to say so.
What she didn’t find, but could have, is that a number of large-scale feeding studies have already been done and shown that eating a balanced lower-sodium diet helps reduce blood pressure and prevent blood pressure increases. DASH-Sodium is one of them. And no one had to wait until the study subjects died to figure it out.
Filed under: DASH Diet, Food Politics, nutrition | Tagged: cardiovascular disease, CDC, DASH Diet, DASH-Sodium, Gina Kolata, high blood pressure, hypertension, low-salt diet, Michael Alderman, sodium research |