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Alton Brown, good eats, salt

 
 
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:17 am
I was watching Alton Brown last nite on his food network show "good eats." I like his show because he uses much of the program to explain foods rather than just dmonstrate recipes. Anyway, last nite his program was about salt, the different kinds of salt and different ways to use different salts. towards the end of the program he made the comment that considering (1) You drink plenty of water (2) your kidneys are healthy and (3) you don't have a pre-disposition (genetic) towards hyper-tension; there is no such thing has eating too much salt and there has never been any valid study to indicate otherwise.
This was to me pretty shocking as I have heard for many years that salt is a major factor in causing hyper-tension. Perhaps salt is a popular food myth without merit.
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:25 am
@dyslexia,
That's what I've read as well... salt is an aggravating factor if you have hypertension, otherwise it is no big deal.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:26 am
@dyslexia,
He's got good knife skills.

Perhaps you should call him the next time someone you love needs surgery.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:34 am
@dyslexia,
Well, take his word with a grain of salt. Laughing

I can't answer the validity of his claims but other then he is a very intelligent man. Most of his success is his understanding of food science.

He's by far my favorite television cook/cooking show host I have ever watched.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:36 am
I read a long time ago, of a people that ingests huge quantities of salt without gaining hypertension. I can't recall now who the people were. I will try to google it.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:40 am
Many people with high blood pressure see salt as a villain. According to conventional wisdom, just a few shakes can send blood pressure soaring. But is salt really so dangerous?



After decades of studies, scientists finally have an answer to that question: Yes -- and no. For many people, extra salt really does raise blood pressure. In a few cases, however, it seems to lower pressure. And for some people, it doesn't really matter one way or another.



If this seems confusing to you, you have lots of company. Scientists are puzzled, too. Nobody knows why some people are sensitive to salt and others aren't. But researchers do have some clear-cut advice: To be on the safe side, everyone should keep a lid on salt intake.



How much salt should I consume each day?

The average American consumes over 3,000 milligrams of sodium every day -- far more than the body actually needs. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily intake of no more than 2,300 mg. And reducing salt to 1,500 mg a day may be even better.



A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2001 examined six diets and found that a low-sodium regimen could make a healthy diet even healthier. Half of the study subjects ate a typical American diet but were divided into three groups, each consuming different levels of sodium: high (3,300 mg each day), intermediate (2,400 mg per day), and low (1,500 mg each day.) The participants in the other half of the study ate meals rich in fruits and vegetables but low in fat and cholesterol (also known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet.) Their diets also were subdivided into three different levels of salt consumption.



The one-sixth of the subjects who ate the lowest-sodium DASH diet enjoyed the greatest reduction in blood pressure, even among people who didn't have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) to start with. This group lost an average of 9 points from their systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) -- the biggest drop in any group.



Among subjects who cut down on salt, hypertensive African American women over 45 achieved the largest reduction in blood pressure. By contrast, young white men without hypertension had relatively little response to a low-sodium diet, according to Myron Weinberger, MD, Director of the Hypertension Research Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine, who conducted the study.



Weinberger's findings highlight two important points: First, some people can significantly reduce their blood pressure by cutting back on salt. Second, salt is just a start. You can give your heart extra protection by getting plenty of fruits and vegetables every day and going easy on fats. Not only will you lower your blood pressure, you'll reduce your risk of atherosclerosis (a form of hardening of the arteries) and heart disease.



How common is salt sensitivity?

Some people are extra-sensitive to salt. When they cut back, their blood pressure goes down. When they overindulge, their pressure goes up. According to the Mayo Clinic, salt sensitivity is especially common among older people, African-Americans, and people with hypertension, kidney disease or diabetes. Overall, 26 percent of Americans with normal blood pressure and 58 percent of those with hypertension are salt sensitive, Weinberger estimates.



If I don't have high blood pressure, do I still need to watch my salt?

Another recent NHLBI study suggests that salt sensitivity can be a dangerous condition -- even among people who don't have high blood pressure. Researchers followed up on a group of 708 people who had been evaluated for salt sensitivity and hypertension 25 years ago and were surprised by their findings. Subjects who had normal blood pressure but were sensitive to salt were just as likely as subjects with hypertension to have died of heart disease.



In a press release from the NHLBI, Director Claude Lenfant says, "This study provides yet more evidence that Americans should be careful about their daily salt intake." Since there's no blood test or other quick way to measure salt sensitivity, it's best not to take any chances.



How can I cut back on salt?

You can start by going easy on the saltshaker. It's important to understand, however, that the average person gets 90 percent of his or her salt from other sources. Many "convenience" foods such as frozen dinners, restaurant meals, luncheon meats, fast foods, and canned soups are extremely high in salt. The best way to protect yourself is to prepare meals at home. If you do eat processed foods, check the labels carefully -- and aim for a daily dose of 2,300 mg of sodium or less from all your food sources.



-- Chris Woolston, M.S., is a health and medical writer with a master's degree in biology. He is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Interactive, and was the staff writer at Hippocrates, a magazine for physicians. He has also covered science issues for Time Inc. Health, WebMD, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. His reporting on occupational health earned him an award from the northern California Society of Professional Journalists.






References


Vollmer, W.M. et al. Effects off sodium intake on blood pressure: Subgroup analysis of the DASH-sodium trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. Dec. 18, 2001.135(12): 1019-1028.

National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute news release. Study shows new link between salt sensitivity and risk of death. Feb. 15, 2001.

McCarron, D.A. The dietary guideline for sodium: Should we shake it up? Yes! American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May 2000. 71 (5): 1013-1019.

Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Intakes for Individuals, Vitamins. http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309085373/html/1319.html

Mayo Clinic. Sodium: Are you getting too much? July 2008. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reviewed by Peter Pompei, MD, a geriatrics specialist and associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.



Our reviewers are members of Consumer Health Interactive's medical advisory board.
To learn more about our writers and editors, click here.



Last updated December 19, 2008
Copyright © 2002 Consumer Health Interactive



0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:42 am
@tsarstepan,
well I have certainly learned more about the science of food from him, this was just kind of stunning news and i thought very interesting as well. He also mentioned that he often prefers a "smoked salt" from somewhere in europe, I had never heard of "smoked salt." "smoked salt" is brown coloured btw.
On last nites program he also demonstrated a recipe cooking shrimp on a bed of rock salt that Lady Diane want to try as it looked very good.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 10:46 am
@dyslexia,
from wikipedia
Quote:
Smoked salt is an aromatic edible salt with smoke flavoring. It is a spice and is used as a shortcut to add smoked flavor to foods. Smoked salt consists mainly of sea salt and smoke.

Smoked salt lends a mellow smoke flavor and aroma to meats and vegetables and is suitable for vegetarians. "Smoked salt" differs from "Smoke flavored salt" in that the latter contains a smoke flavored additive and is therefore not classified as a pure salt product. Smoked salt is typically made from evaporated "sea salt" as opposed to "mined salt". Both types of salt are sodium chloride (NaCl) but mined salt often has a more pronounced "salty" taste due to the minerals found in the soil, therefore mined salt is typically not suitable for use in the manufacture of smoked salt.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 11:06 am
Very interesting. Personally, I use very little salt in cooking and if there were no salt shaker on the table, I'd never miss it: very sledom use it at all. That's not because I'm a health nut. Quite the contrary. My body just doesn't ask for any more than is already present in all those prepared foods one usually makes a part of one's diet.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 11:25 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
there is no such thing has eating too much salt and there has never been any valid study to indicate otherwise.


Quote:
A well-controlled study with people from three ethnic groups " whites, blacks and Asians " found that reducing salt intake from 9.7 to 6.5 grams per day reduced average blood pressure from 146/91 to 141/88 mmHg within six weeks.

“Our study is the largest double-blind trial of modest salt reduction which also involves a large number of black and Asian participants,” wrote the researchers in Hypertension.

“The study demonstrates that a modest reduction in salt intake, as currently recommended, causes significant and important falls in BP in all three ethnic groups of individuals with mildly raised BP,” they added.

Salt is of course a vital nutrient and is necessary for the body to function, but campaigners for salt reduction, like the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) consider the average daily salt consumption in the western world, between 10 and 12g, far too high. WHO/FAO recommends a daily intake of 5 grams per day to control blood pressure levels and reduce hypertension prevalence and related health risks in populations.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has set targets of 6 grams per day, and the new research appears to support the clinical relevance of such recommendations.

“Our present study provides further support for the current recommendations to reduce salt intake to less than 6 g/d in adults,” wrote the researchers, led by Dr Feng He from the Blood Pressure Unit at St. George's, University of London.

While previous studies have reported similar benefits, most of these have focused on white participants, with far fewer with people from other ethnic groups, explained the London-based researchers.

“The results in Asian participants (94 per cent were of South Asian origin) are of particular interest, as this is the first longer-term modest salt reduction trial in this group and demonstrates a clear benefit of salt reduction,” wrote He and his co-workers.

Source: Food Navigator
Study: Effect of Modest Salt Reduction on Blood Pressure, Urinary Albumin, and Pulse Wave Velocity in White, Black, and Asian Mild Hypertensives


An earlier study: Salt and blood pressure in children and adolescents


0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 11:53 am
I wonder if this has influenced Alton's views on salt.

http://www.diamondcrystalsalt.com/Culinary/Alton-Brown.aspx

http://www.diamondcrystalsalt.com/images/culinary/AltonBrownHeader.jpg
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 12:16 pm
Walter's source wrote:
“The study demonstrates that a modest reduction in salt intake, as currently recommended, causes significant and important falls in BP in all three ethnic groups of individuals with mildly raised BP,” they added.


I used to have my BP and pulse taken at least twice a week. (I donated plasma for the cash.) One week, i cut out all added salt in my diet, which is to say that the only salt in my diet was that which was already in the food when i purchased it. My BP dropped to 90 over 56, after four days. So, i can't say if salt has a signal impact on hypertension (i'm no expert), but my own experience is that added salt has a dramatic effect on one's BP.

I love salt. I add salt to almost everything i eat, if it's not intended to be sweet.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 01:20 pm
@Setanta,
Salt intake has a pronounced impact on my BP. Ive inherited an "essential" hypertension in which salt excess will cause water retention and result in some BP elevation.

I use seasalt which is roughly 3/4 KCl and 25% NaCl. I also like the flavor and the texture.(We use a salt grinder and keep it on coarse.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 02:12 pm
@farmerman,
I use the sea salt, too. I just like the taste. Several years back i got a shaker of salt from the Bonneville salt flats, and it was guaranteed to contain all sorts of mineral salts, and to be low in chlorine salt. It also had a good taste. Unfortunately, i've not seen it in any stores since then (it was in some hippie food store, which are not places i frequent; i dislike buying cheese with a specific gravity greater than lead).
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 02:18 pm
I use sea salt also.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 04:28 pm
Of course i am a cynic in all things but i would opine that obesity, lack of exercise are far more significant risk factors for hypertension than is salt.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 04:30 pm
@dyslexia,
I can't address hypertension, as it has never been a problem for me and my loved ones.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 05:02 pm
@dyslexia,
Excess salt is the enemy of weight loss/control -- even men can retain water if they ingest too much salt.
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 05:11 pm
Sea salt on caramels covered with dark chocolates.
Smoked sea salt on caramels covered with milk chocolates.
Google: Fran's Chocolates from Seattle. I tasted these at a food show about 4 years ago. Now every chocolatier is doing this.

Go to Chelsea Market on line to see their big sea salt offerings.
0 Replies
 
tycoon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Oct, 2009 05:22 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

Excess salt is the enemy of weight loss/control -- even men can retain water if they ingest too much salt.


Let me ask a groundfloor question. Why would the retention of water be so bad, except for the obvious extra weight it means? Carrying extra fluid is quite different from carrying extra fat, no?
 

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