"My seatmate on a dinner flight was a woman from Switzerland. As soon as the meal was served, I noticed that she heavily salted and peppered her dessert—–a luscious looking piece of chocolate cake. The flight attendant, somewhat taken aback, explained that it wasn’t necessary to do this. “Oh, but it is,” the woman replied, smiling. “It keeps me from eating it.”
Cutting Salt Could Prevent Almost 500,000 Heart Attacks
"Government-industry collaboration would work better than a "salt tax," study finds.
A combined government-industry initiative to reduce U.S. sodium consumption by as little as 10 percent would save thousands of lives and billions of dollars, according to new research.
Cutting salt reduces blood pressure, a key factor contributing to heart attacks and stroke.
"Per person on average it is a very small decrease in blood pressure, but over large populations, we saw a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease and in cost savings," said Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler, lead author of a study in the March 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
"This new report strongly supports the conclusion that a concerted national effort to reduce sodium in processed foods would save hundreds of thousands of lives at minimal cost," added Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. "We should not delay taking on this challenge."
Like several other recent reports and recommendations, the study advocates a population-based strategy to reduce salt intake and, thereby, blood pressure.
Willett was a co-author of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released a week ago urging public-health initiatives to combat salt consumption.
And the New York City Health Department, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has announced that it is spearheading the National Salt Reduction Initiative, which aims for a 20 percent reduction in salt consumption over five years.
The initiative is targeted primarily at restaurants and food manufacturers, which supply the majority of sodium in American diets.
According to a commentary in the same issue of the journal, co-authored by Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, too much salt is responsible for 100,000 deaths each year in the United States.
To estimate the potential lives saved from a reduction in salt intake, the researchers devised computer models assessing the cost-effectiveness of two scenarios.
The first scenario was a government collaboration with the food industry to reduce the amount of sodium in processed foods, similar to an effort undertaken in the United Kingdom that has led to an estimated 9.5 percent decline in overall sodium consumption among its residents.
A similar reduction of 9.5 percent in the United States would prevent 531,885 strokes and 480,358 heart attacks over the lifetime of adults ages 40 to 85, would increase quality-adjusted life years by 2.1 million and would save $32.1 billion in medical costs, the authors stated.
The second scenario involved a tax on salt that would increase the price by 40 percent and lower intake by 6 percent. This would prevent an estimated 327,892 strokes and 306,137 heart attacks, save about $22.4 billion and would increase quality-adjusted life years by 1.3 million.
The first option -- a government/industry united effort -- makes more sense and yielded better results, according to both the study authors and Frieden.
If done slowly, American taste buds might even adjust to the change, according to Dr. David Fleming, chairman of the IOM committee and director of public health for Seattle and King County, Washington. He spoke during a Feb. 22 teleconference on the issue.
"If you look at the experience in other countries, for example, the U.K., which has been a leader in reducing salt, we find that if you drop the amount of salt precipitously, people notice," Fleming said. "But if you drop it slowly over time, months or a year, then nobody notices."
Dr. John Bisognano, a professor of medicine and director of outpatient cardiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center and president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, said that "there's a recognition that we're getting salt from processed and restaurant food."
"Even if you're trying your best at home to restrict salt intake, one can of really good soup or one trip to the buffet at a restaurant and you've exceeded the recommendation," Bisognano said.
For people with chronic kidney disease or heart failure, such an unintended spree could also mean a trip to the emergency room, he said.
"Our idea is to create a healthier environment so people, by default, make healthier choices," said Smith-Spangler, who is a health services researcher at the Stanford University Center for Health Policy and a physician with the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Healthcare System. "If manufacturers were able to work with us and decrease sodium in processed food, it would be easier to decrease sodium intake." "
Just 1 Less Teaspoon Slashes Heart Risks
“Getting just a smidge less of this in your diet could really help your heart. We're talking about salt.
In a recent study, eating roughly 1 less teaspoon of salt a day was associated with a significantly lower risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease.
The Heart/Salt Connection
Sure, you know being loosey-goosey with the salt shaker can lead to blood pressure troubles. But how much impact does a little pinch have? Quite a bit, it turns out. In a scientific analysis of 13 different studies involving data from nearly 200,000 people, researchers found that the reduction in stroke risk from consuming 5 less grams of salt a day -- a little less than a teaspoon's worth -- was about 23 percent. And the reduction in heart disease risk was 17 percent. So a little less salt could mean a lot more life. (Check out this collection of amazing snacks, meals, and treats with less salt.)
Live Well on Less
Salt isn't all bad. Our bodies need a certain amount of it to help control blood pressure, send nerve signals, absorb nutrients, and maintain proper fluid balances. But our bodies don't need much to do business -- only about 1/4 teaspoon a day. The problem is that salt is added to just about everything that is prepackaged -- even foods that don't taste salty, like breakfast cereals. So hide your salt shaker, read labels carefully, and choose whole, fresh foods whenever you can.” (Find out which has more salt -- bread or potato chips.)
Osteoporosis Diet Dangers: Foods to Avoid
"Salt, soda, caffeine: Could your daily diet be damaging your bones -- even leading to osteoporosis?
Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for warding off osteoporosis. For even stronger bones, avoid these everyday osteoporosis diet dangers.
Osteoporosis Diet Danger 1: Salt Is Bad for the Bone!
Salt can pose a great obstacle to a sturdy skeleton. Research has found that postmenopausal women with a high-salt diet lose more bone minerals than other women of the same age.
"The salt content of the typical American diet is one of the reasons why calcium requirements are so high," says Linda K. Massey, PhD, RD, a professor of human nutrition at Washington State University in Spokane.
Massey says studies show that regular table salt, not simply sodium, causes calcium loss, weakening bones with time. That’s important because Americans get about 90% of our sodium through salt.
We also get about twice as much sodium as we should. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise limiting sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day – equal to a teaspoon of salt. But most Americans get at least 4,000 milligrams a day.
"Generally speaking, for every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, about 40 milligrams of calcium is lost in the urine," Massey explains.
Getting the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D every day helps offset bone loss from salt.
- Adults up to age 50 require 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily -- the equivalent of three 8-ounce glasses of milk.
- Older adults need 1,200 milligrams of daily calcium – about half a glass more of milk.
As for vitamin D:
- People need 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until age 50.
- Adults need 400 IU of vitamin D from the ages of 51 to 70 years.
- Seniors need 600 IU of vitamin D a day after age 70.
Good sources of vitamin D are natural sunlight and from fortified milk, egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and supplements.
Of all the dangers to bone, salt is perhaps the hardest to curb. Salt shows up in nearly all processed foods, including whole grain breads, breakfast cereals, and fast foods.
Removing the salt shaker from the table, and cooking without added salt, helps. But avoiding processed foods provides the biggest bang for the buck. Processed foods supply 75% of the sodium we eat.
If you want to get a grip on this diet danger, here are some of the highest-salt foods to limit or avoid. Choose no-added salt versions whenever possible.
- Processed meats, such as deli turkey and ham, and hot dogs
- Fast food, such as pizza, burgers, tacos, and fries
- Processed foods, including regular and reduced-calorie frozen meals
- Regular canned soups and vegetables and vegetable juices
- Baked products, including breads and breakfast cereals
Scan food labels for sodium content. There's a good chance the majority of it comes from salt, so the lower the sodium, the better for bones."
It was a frantic call from Claudia that prompted all this talk about salt. She had just put some banana cake in the oven and had forgotten to include the salt. She wondered if it would be alright. Well, she was talking to the wrong person, as I don't add salt to anything. Any food that is grown in the ground, and almost all other foods already contain salt naturally. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284 She gave me some of the banana cake, and it was delicious.
Early in the morning, while I was busy paying bills online, Jim called to say he would be here to pick up the cargo trailer in 20 minutes. I had also been so busy feeding the animals, etc, that I hadn't even brushed my teeth, hair, or cleaned the litter boxes. After rushing around, I was ready by the time he got here.
He had brought a helper to help load the big square metal bumper in the back of his truck. He doesn't know how many times I have moved that heavy bumper to get it out of my way! Once it is welded back on the trailer, we can screw the trim back on, under the cargo door.
It was Misty's turn in the grooming room. What is it about the cobbler's son being the worst shod! Her ears were tangled, but it didn't show, or I would have tended to them. I hadn't been brushing them regularly like I should.
It took a long time to get the hidden bits and pieces out of her long flowing thick ear feathers. And she wasn't too happy.
At her old age, I want life to be easy for her, so if she insists on rolling in the dirt, I will cut her ears into a Tassel pattern next time.
Then there won't be so much to keep brushed. But after what we went through this morning, I will keep her pretty fluffy ear feathers for now.
She hasn't has her shower, or the finish work done yet. That's what I mean about the cobbler's son, I do her bit by bit as I have time!
Then Jay called and asked me to print out a map of the route to Bastrop, as he is going there with their neighbor, leaving at 3.00 AM, and he wanted to see where he was going.
He came up here on his ATV with Maddie to get it.
She sits on the gas tank, and just loves it.
No way I would let my dog ride on that thing!
Jay asked me to email the pictures that I took of Maddie on his ATV to his mother, but the renter had messed it up so badly that I had to go down there to try to sort out her computer so that she could get into her Gmail to see them. The renter has his own laptop, and uses it over in Jay's house from Claudia's router, so he needs to stay away from Claudia's computer.
As I was leaving, Misty went down the steps off their porch and was dragging her leash with me following her trying to pick it up. Jay hollered "Step On It", I hollered back "No way, that is how dogs get a bad neck or spine". Maybe that is how their last little dog, MaeMae got her bad neck!
Then Jim brought the cargo trailer back, with the bumper welded back on, so Ray and I will have plenty to do today.