Blast from the Past
Dr. Arya Sharma, founder and Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network, recently wrote a post on the evidence in favor of universal sodium reduction, and described it as “less than conclusive”. Dr. Sharma spent the first 10 years of his research career studying the effects of sodium on blood pressure, and he has found that the evidence is mixed at best, and that there is evidence for potential harm as well. As Dr. Sharma writes, “in some cases we even reported adverse consequences of sodium restriction resulting both in significant elevations in plasma lipids and insulin resistance (perhaps not surprising given that reducing sodium intake markedly stimulates both the sympathetic and renin-angiotensin systems – the very systems we seek to block to reduce cardiovascular risk).”
This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has read my series on salt, which touches on those same concerns that Dr. Sharma has brought to light. In particular, my article on the dangers of salt restriction notes that a low-salt diet may cause serious health consequences and higher overall mortality, especially in the presence of certain chronic health conditions and lifestyle factors, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ironically, it is these two populations that are frequently told to reduce sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams, or about one teaspoon per day.
While I don’t promote the consumption of high-sodium packaged and processed foods, I’ve said many times before that most healthy people can happily add 1.5 to 3.5 teaspoons of unrefined salt to their whole foods diet. There are a few exceptions to this, such as people with kidney disease, but in general I believe that salt restriction for the general population is not only unnecessary, but potentially dangerous. It would appear that Dr. Sharma might agree with me.
- Could this research suggest another reason to avoid grains? It’s a mechanistic study, but it’s interesting.
- A fascinating study shows higher prevalence of SIBO in Parkinson’s patients, and eradication improves symptoms.
- Research suggests that classroom naps support learning in preschool children by enhancing memory.
- A study demonstrates that the heritability of sleep duration is between 31%-55%, which suggests a substantial amount of sleep need is genetically determined.
- Another study shows that shorter sleep duration increases expression of genetic risks for high body weight.
Worth A Look
- Louis C.K. opines on smartphones for kids: I couldn’t agree more.
- The New York Times explains how most women aren’t getting support for breastfeeding by their insurance companies.
- Diane Sanfilippo shares her view on flax and chia seeds, juice cleanses, and green drinks.
- Ancestralize Me has compiled a list of the ten most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, and all of her suggestions are budget-friendly.
For the Foodies
- Edible Harmony: Blueberry Banana Frittata
- The Paleo Mama: No Bean Paleo Pumpkin Hummus
- Rubies and Radishes: Slow Cooker Beef & Butternut Squash Stew
- Stupid Easy Paleo: Kickin’ BBQ Shredded Chicken
- Civilized Caveman: Beef Noodle Soup with Shitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy
- The Domestic Man: Karniyarik (Turkish Stuffed Eggplant)
- PaleOMG: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
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