Calvin Engle - Mar 03 2021
An Introduction (or Re-Introduction) to Salt
Over the next few weeks, we are going to go deep into the history, science and unfortunate implications of the vilification of salt in our society. It's actually quite fascinating and very complicated, but we are going to do our best to break it down into bite-sized knowledge nuggets for you to have a better understanding on how to use the oldest (and natural) supplement known to humankind.
Salt is an essential nutrient that our body needs to live. Our bodies have a biological drive to consume it, because, like breathing, salt is a requirement for life.
Disclaimer: This is our best interpretation of general research, information, and advice relating to the potential benefits of salt in your diet. It is not intended to replace medical advice. We are not doctors. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
The Short(ish) Answer:
Why has it become so engrained in our culture that salt is bad? You’ve heard the guidelines and seen the “no sodium” label marketing that diet soda as a healthy option. How could something we’ve all been taught for the past 40 years be so wrong?
The shortened explanation is that back in the 1970s the US government decided to recommend Americans restrict their salt intake to help prevent the increase in blood pressure that happens as we age. Even though the Surgeon General admitted that there was no evidence to support this claim, they hypothesized that because you drink more water when you consume more salt, this results in increased blood volume and thus higher blood pressure (more on the “salt-blood pressure hypothesis” later).
It was not until 1991, 15 years after Americans had been cutting their salt intake, that they actually conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of sodium restriction to back up this claim. But the damage was already done, the scientific community (and therefore the public) had made up its mind.
Most people do not need to eat low-salt diets, and the harm from sodium deficiency can lead to much more harm than good. This is even more true in modern society, where our love for caffeine, pharmaceutical medications, and even fad diets increase the risk of salt depletion.
Scientists have found that, when left alone, people tend to consume about 3,000-4,000 milligrams of sodium per day. This threshold holds true across cultures, and when you fall below this level you’ll start to crave salt until you get back into balance.
"Too little salt can:
- Make you crave sugar and refined carbs
- Send your body into semistarvation mode
- Lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.
"But eating the salt you desire can:
- Improve everything, from your sleep, energy and mental focus, to your fitness, fertility, and sexual performance
- Stave off common chronic illnesses, including heart disease"
*The above is an excerpt from “The Salt Fix” – by Dr. James DiNicolantonio*
If you’d like to learn more and get even deeper into the science, we definitely recommend reading “The Salt Fix” by Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a leading cardiovascular research scientist who reviewed 500+ publications to unravel the truth about salt and human health.
Science changes. By forcing this long-outdated “war on salt” we are blaming salt for the negative health effects that are caused by another white crystal – sugar. To put it simply, salt is absolutely essential to live a healthy life, sugar is not. But we don’t have to wait for the government to update it’s dietary guidelines to take care of our own health (given the deep pockets and lobbying by “big soda”, that probably isn’t a great idea).
You just need to learn to listen to your body, you may find yourself sleeping better, living healthier, and craving less sugar. We hope that we can help you do that.