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  • Noshing on

    Happy 2019! It's a new year--time for a restorative. Me? Bok choy broth with tofu for lunch. The purple tinge is not your hangover talking to you--I added purple and gold "black" carrots to the bowl and it got a little Rose Parade on me.

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    Copyright 2008-2019Slow Food Fast. All writing and images on this blog unless otherwise attributed or set in quotes are the sole property of Slow Food Fast. Please contact DebbieN via the comments form for permissions before reprinting or reproducing any of the material on this blog.


    I may post affiliate links to books and movies that I personally review and recommend. Currently I favor Alibris and Vroman's, our terrific and venerable (now past the century mark!) independent bookstore in Pasadena. Or go to your local library--and make sure to support them with actual donations, not just overdue fines (ahem!), because your state probably has cut their budget and hours. Again.

    In keeping with the disclaimer below, I DO NOT endorse, profit from, or recommend any medications, health treatments, commercial diet plans, supplements or any other such products.


    SlowFoodFast sometimes addresses general public health topics related to nutrition, heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes. Because this is a blog with a personal point of view, my health and food politics entries often include my opinions on the trends I see, and I try to be as blatant as possible about that. None of these articles should be construed as specific medical advice for an individual case. I do try to keep to findings from well-vetted research sources and large, well-controlled studies, and I try not to sensationalize the science (though if they actually come up with a real cure for Type I diabetes in the next couple of years, I'm gonna be dancing in the streets with a hat that would put Carmen Miranda to shame. Consider yourself warned).

Questionable sodium study, even more questionable comments

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.

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