Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Snarky Rant on Sodium and Blood Pressure

Quick rant today, related to my recent obsession with all things blood pressure (see here and here).  I just found this quote on the CDC website that really steamed my clams...

"Sodium intake from processed and restaurant foods contributes to increased rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Decreasing sodium intake to within recommended limits could prevent thousands of deaths annually, because nearly 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure." (1)

To me this is short-sighted, oversimplified, and quite frankly ignorant. Sodium reduction can be a good thing because it often occurs simultaneously with elimination of processed junk, like said "processed and restaurant food". But being all narrow-minded and reducing sodium intake to the level they recommend can be dangerous (23).

There is a better option... We can get the same outcome by simply increasing potassium intake... aka, replacing shitty junk foods with vegetables, meats, fruits, dairy, and starchy tubers (4). And I see no reason not to add a little salt for flavor.

Why, oh why, can't we just teach people how to eat real food?? This would solve so much.  But NO, that's never the answer... let's just encourage everyone to buy low-sodium processed shit... because low-sodium HoHo's are SO much better than regular HoHo's.

We COULD... recommend more potassium, found in fruits, veggies etc., and end up ACTUALLY TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO EAT FOOD... or we could teach them to look for "low-sodium" on a box of Cheez-Its.

low-sodium twinkies.

salt-free french fries.

Come on people, get real.  Just eat real food.

1 comment:

  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comApril 5, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Hi Brendan,

    Healthline just published a visualization of your daily value of sodium. In the chart, you can see what half of your DV of salt looks like for 30 foods:

    This is very valuable content as it puts nutrition information into perspective and helps a person understand how much sodium is actually in their food. I thought this would be of interest to your audience and wanted to see if you would include this as a resource on your page:

    If you do not believe this would be a good fit for a resource on your site, even sharing this on your social communities would be a great alternativeto help get the word out.

    Thanks for your time reviewing. Please let me know your thoughts and if there are any questions I can answer.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
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