Friday, May 20, 2011

Low Salt diet increases the risk of heart attack?

Now that's a headline that will capture your attention. Ironically it was a recent study published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. So dies that mean everything we've read for decades is made up of lies or is it something simpler..... like this study is WRONG. What do you think?

A statement from officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly followed that the study was flawed, and the results should not be applied to the public. In fact, CIDC Medical Director Peter Briss, M.D., commented, "At the moment, this study might need to be taken with a grain of salt." They critcized it in an interview, something they normally do not do.

eat less salt study
The low salt study involved only those without high blood pressure at the start, was observational, considered at best suggestive and not conclusive. It included 3,681 middle-aged Europeans who did not have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease and followed them for an average of 7.9 years.

The researchers assessed the participants’ sodium consumption at the study’s start and at its conclusion by measuring the amount of sodium excreted in urine over a 24-hour period. All the sodium that is consumed is excreted in urine within a day, so this method is the most precise way to determine sodium consumption.

Lowering salt consumption, Dr. Alderman said, has consequences beyond blood pressure. It also, for example, increases insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

“Diet is a complicated business,” he said. “There are going to be unintended consequences.”

Without going into great detail about this study's shortcomings, one must use this instance as an example of how contradictory study results can be. Nearly every day, food and nutrition makes the news with today's report often contradictory to what you heard last week or last month.

When you read beyond the headlines, a different story often emerges. Nutrition is an evolving science, so we will continue to read conflicting advice.

Keep the following points in mind as you ready your next food and nutrition research findings:

◦Study results are often one piece of a bigger puzzle, so don't make changes in your diet until more studies confirm the results.
◦Check out the study methods looking for longer studies with more people, which will likely produce more valid results.
◦Beware of attention-grabbing headlines that may oversimplify complex research results. Look for bottom-line conclusions at the end of the news story.
◦Don't believe recommendations that promise a quick fix, such as medical miracle. Claims that are too good to be true usually are.
◦Look for research conducted by respectable scientists or organizations and then reported in a reputable publication. Supermarket tabloid publications are not considered reputable!
◦Review research reports for expert interpretation by nutrition and health professionals not involved in the research.