“In all ages salt has been invested with a significance far exceeding that inherent in its natural properties…Homer calls it a divine substance. Plato describes it as especially near to the gods, and we shall presently note the importance attached to it in religious ceremonies, covenants and magical charms. That this should have been so in all parts of the world and in all times shows that we are dealing with a general human tendency and not with any local custom circumstance or notion.”
Ernest Jones, 1912
Salt has been the subject of controversy in recent years, and has increasingly been blamed for a number of poor health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Salt is ubiquitous in our modern diet, with Americans consuming an average of 10 grams per day.
Most of what we read and hear these days is telling us that salt consumption needs to be reduced, and it has even been referred to as “the single most harmful substance in the food supply”.
But is salt really as dangerous as we have been led to believe? Or is there a healthy, even beneficial range of salt that we should be eating? And could the government’s low salt recommendations actually be harmful to health?
In this series, Shaking Up The Salt Myth, I explore the history of salt in the human diet, as well as the physiological requirements for salt and theories on the “optimal” dietary salt range. I present evidence for the dangers of too little and too much salt, and give recommendations for the type and amount of salt to include in the diet.
This series will present the bare facts about a highly misunderstood but essential part of the human diet.