What is “The Salt Fix”?

MHollander

Salt is back in the news thanks to a new book that was just released. The Salt Fix  by researcher James DiNicolantonio It came to my attention on Dr. Low Dog’s Facebook post.

Dr. Tieraona Low Dog: “We’ve been looking at the evidence for and against saturated fat and carbs in the diet for years. Now there is a book looking at the role salt plays in our health. For years, physicians, myself included told people to limit their salt intake to 1 teaspoon per day (2300 mg of sodium) and for those at high risk for heart disease or hypertension (e.g., people over age 50, African Americans, those with kidney disease) to cut back to no more than 1/2 teaspoon per day (1500 mg of sodium). However, in 2013, after reviewing the evidence, the Institute of Medicine found that those who went on very low salt diets actually faired worse than those with higher intake. Now comes along, The Salt Fix, written by researcher James DiNicolantonio, which questions many of our current assumptions around this precious mineral. I still think it wise to avoid heavily processed foods that are loaded in salt and devoid of much nutrition. I prefer spices and culinary herbs for flavoring foods as they are powerhouses when it comes to taste and health giving compounds. And while it is probably okay to “loosen the reins” a little when it comes to salt, moderation seems to always be the sagest advice.” WNY researcher shakes up nutrition world with new book on salt  By


Sodium is a chemical element that is essential for the human body. Salt is a mineral that is made up of two elements: Sodium & Chlorine. For you chemistry buffs, NaCl or sodium chloride. 40% of table salt is sodium. Salt is harvested from the evaporation of sea water or mining it from the earth.

From Sources of Sodium 

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium

Salt has been used to cure/preserve meats, enhance flavors, add moisture to foods, it has played a role in religion & has been used as currency. I found a fascinating history of salt at SaltworksThis is a very interesting site with information about gourmet salts, salt recipes & more. I enjoyed perusing the pages.

Sodium has many roles in the body. It helps to regulate the body’s overall fluid balance, thus regulating our blood pressure. It also regulates the normal function of nerves & muscles. It is found in the blood & around cells. We get our sodium through food & drink, and lose it through sweat & urine. Our kidneys regulate the balance by adjusting the amount lost in urine. The amount of sodium in the body effects the blood volume or amount of fluid in the blood & around the cells. It is quite the balancing act! The ratio of sodium to potassium affects our blood pressure & kidney function. 


The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day as part of a healthy eating pattern. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day. Most of that is from processed foods.

Hyponatrimia, is when our sodium is too low. This is a rare problem. Usually it is due to dehydration after extreme exercise.  

Hypernatrimia is when our sodium levels are too high. This new book, & the author’s research, is challenging these levels. 

Where do we get our sodium/salt? All whole foods have some amount of sodium in them. Eating a plant based diet, the Mediterranean or DASH diet gives you enough sodium for your RDA, Recommended Daily Allowance.

As Dr. Low Dog said, heavily processed foods are loaded with salt. So are canned goods & processed meats. Even frozen vegetables have salt in them. I give my dog green beans as a snack when she is hungry. Salt isn’t good for dogs, so I have to find canned green beans without it. Sounds easy but it isn’t. Even store brands have some salt in them. Read your labels. The RDA on the label is in milligrams or grams & % of your daily values based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Texas A&M, Agri Life Extension has an online brochure listing the Sodium Content of Your Food.  It is the most extensive list that I have seen.


From details on the website about the book,  The Salt Fix 

About the author: James J. DiNicolantonio, Pharm. D., is a respected cardiovascular research scientist, doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and the associate editor of British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) Open Heart. He is the author or coauthor of approximately 200 publications in medical literature. His research has been featured in The New York Times, ABC’s Good Morning America, TIME, Fox News, U.S. News and World Report, Yahoo! Health, BBC News, Daily Mail, Forbes, National Public Radio, and Men’s Health, among others. This is obviously no fly by night person who decided to write a book about salt.

About the book: A leading cardiovascular research scientist upends the low-salt myth, proving that salt may be one solution to—rather than a cause of—our nation’s chronic disease crises.

Sure to change the national conversation about this historically treasured substance, The Salt Fix elegantly and accessibly weaves the research into a fascinating new understanding of salt’s essential role in your health and what happens when you aren’t getting enough—with far-reaching, even heart-stopping, implications. 

The book is available on Amazon : The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong–and How Eating More Might Save Your Life   Why is this book so controversial? Here is what Amazon says about it: 

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a leading cardiovascular research scientist, has reviewed over 500 publications to unravel the impact of salt on blood pressure and heart disease. He’s reached a startling conclusion: The vast majority of us don’t need to watch our salt intake. In fact, for most of us, more salt would be advantageous to your health. The Salt Fix tells the remarkable story of how salt became unfairly demonized—a never-before-told drama of competing egos and interests—and took the fall for another white crystal: sugar. 
 
In fact, too little salt can:
• Cause you to crave sugar and refined carbs.
• Send the body into semi-starvation mode.
• Lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.
 
On the other hand, eating the salt your body desires can:
• Improve everything from your sleep, energy, and mental focus to your fitness, fertility, and sexual performance
• And stave off common chronic illnesses, including heart disease.
 
Dr. DiNicolantonio shows the best ways to add salt back into your diet, offering his transformative five-step program for recalibrating your salt thermostat to achieve your unique, ideal salt intake. Science has moved on from the low-salt dogma, and so should you—your life may depend on it.

I have not read the book yet. I have read & watched several interviews with the author. Here are my favorites that explain his research & his book.

The Salt Fix with Dr James DiNicolantonio You tube video that covers the information in his book. Excellent. I do object to his claim that women need to eat more red meat 🙁

The Be Well Blog has a good interview with Dr. DiNicolantonio. 7 QUESTIONS FOR DR JAMES DINICOLANTONIO, ABOUT HIS NEW BOOK, THE SALT FIX  by Dr. Frank Lipman 

His bottom line is to eat a whole foods diet & listen to your body’s craving for salt. His research & conclusions are scientifically based & correct. I am sure that this book is going to generate more research on the subject of salt in our diet & of sodium’s effect on the body. 


A mother always cut the ends off of her pot roast before putting it into the roasting pan. When questioned by her daughter, she said that her mother always did that. On further research into family lore, it was discovered that the reason the grandmother cut the ends off the roast was so it would fit into her only roasting pan. Why do we continue to do things the way that we were told or taught without any question? What is the story/legend/myth behind it?  This is what research is all about.

Until next week…Mary 🙂