Salt health savings house of cards

May 8, 2007

Salt Institute president Richard L. Hanneman issued the following response statement to the May 1 Canadian Journal of Cardiology publication of an estimate of health care cost savings projected if Canada reduced salt intake by half:

"The conclusion that there would be fewer cardiovascular events and health care savings to society rests on assumptions that, pieced together, are a 'house of cards.' Failure of any one of the assumptions and the whole structure falls. And most of those assumptions fail.

“There are multiple effects of salt reduction — cutting both ways in terms of health risk, so focusing on blood pressure and ignoring threatening changes to insulin resistance, plasma renin activity and other factors that create risks just the opposite of blood pressure is indefensible. Choosing to define the impact of blood pressure falls based on the only meta-analysis that incorporated low-quality, non-randomized trials that exaggerated that benefit is indefensible. Assuming that no other factor will change if the food supply is totally re-engineered is indefensible.

“This isn't reality; it's smoke and mirrors. Take away these unwarranted assumptions and there's nothing in this article left to talk about."

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