Salt: How bad is it really? – Episode 9 – Summer Tomato Live [video]

by | Jul 5, 2011

We had a fantastic discussion last week about salt and the importance of dietary context (aka everything else you’re eating). Thanks to everyone who participated. As always, show notes are below.

The next live event is tomorrow July 6, at 3pm PST, right here on Summer Tomato. I’ll be holding office hours, so come by and ask questions.

June 28, 2011 | Tonight on Summer Tomato Live we’re discussing salt, which ended up being a much more complex topic than I anticipated. Join us at 6:00pm PST to learn about how salt affects your health and what to do about it.

Participation is only available to subscribers of the newsletter Tomato Slice. You can sign up at any time, even during the show, and the password for participation will be emailed to you immediately.

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Read this for more information on the show and newsletter

To watch live and join the discussion click the red “Join event” button, login with Twitter or your Vokle account, and enter the password when prompted.

I encourage you to call in with video questions, particularly if your question is nuanced and may involve a back and forth discussion. Please use headphones to call in however, or the feedback from the show is unbearable.

Show notes:

Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease

The effect of dietary patterns on estimated coronary heart disease risk: results from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial.

Association between a DASH-like diet and mortality in adults with hypertension: findings from a population-based follow-up study.

Effect of modest salt reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Implications for public health.

Advice to reduce dietary salt for prevention of cardiovascular disease. (Cochrane Database)

Reduced dietary salt for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Kidney Disease

Altered dietary salt intake for preventing and treating diabetic kidney disease.

Pivotal role of the kidney in hypertension.

Gastric (stomach) cancer – association likely tied to H. pylori infection

Review of salt consumption and stomach cancer risk: Epidemiological and biological evidence


Genetics of hypertension. Current status.

Majority of salt (75%) comes from processed food products, especially processed grains and meats.

Salt intakes around the world: implications for public health.

Sodium food sources in the Canadian diet.

How the body uses salt is dependent on dietary context


A dietary approach to prevent hypertension: a review of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Study.

The effect of nutrition on blood pressure.

Diet, blood pressure and hypertension.


Dietary fructose, salt absorption and hypertension in metabolic syndrome: towards a new paradigm.

Dietary fructose and hypertension.

Sugar-sweetened beverages and hypertension


Role of physical activity and diet in incidence of hypertension: a population-based study in Portuguese adults

The use of a commercial vegetable juice as a practical means to increase vegetable intake: a randomized controlled trial.


Hypertension, dietary salt restriction, and iodine deficiency among adults.

Your questions

Iodine test:

You can do a skin test at home to test for severe deficiency, otherwise you must have your doctor do a test for you. Seaweed is a good natural source of iodine.

Guide to culinary salts and recipe substitutions

Salt and osteoporosis:

Review of risk factors for osteoporosis with particular reference to a possible aetiological role of dietary salt

Bragg’s liquid aminos:

This product seems to be made with non-GMO soy beans and based on the ingredients appears harmless.

Natural beef bouillon?

I’m going to try this stuff called Better Than Bouillon. I think you can find it at Whole Foods.

How to Convince Family And Friends To Eat Healthy Food

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10 Responses to “Salt: How bad is it really? – Episode 9 – Summer Tomato Live [video]”

  1. Doug says:

    AP: Salt diet dangers may be influenced by potassium — — By MIKE STOBBE – AP Medical Writer 11 July

    “ATLANTA (AP) — The debate about the dangers of eating too much salt has gained a new wrinkle: A federal study suggests that the people most at risk are those who also get too little potassium.

    “Potassium-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, have long been recommended as a dietary defense against heart disease and other chronic illnesses. The new research is one of the first and largest U.S. studies to look at the relationship of salt, potassium and heart disease deaths.

    “‘If you have too much sodium and too little potassium, it’s worse than either one on its own,’ said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, who has led efforts to get the public to eat less salt. He co-wrote a commentary published with the study in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.”

    • Darya Pino says:

      Wish I had a Google+ comment system so I could give this a +1!

    • Doug says:

      Two possible confounding factors:

      1) People with a high Sodium/Potassium ratio probably also eat a diet with a high caloric density (primarily processed food, cheese, processed meats, etc as well as low intake of fruits, vegetables and legumes)

      2) If people are indeed eating a high caloric density diet, they may well be more likely to be overweight/obese, which are known risk factors

    • Darya Pino says:

      There’s also the fructose thing I mentioned in the video.

  2. Michael says:

    Lots of MSG In Braggs. Apparently the process of hydrolyzing the soy does the trick. They used to say no msg on their label but haven’t done so for a few years. Personally, I wouldnt recommend it.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Cool, thx for the heads up.

      • Carly says:

        I realize this is an old post but I think this poster is slightly misguided.

        I have a bottle of BRAGG in my fridge and an old bottle of soy sauce.

        Bragg ingredients: Non-GMO soybean vegetable protein, purified water.
        960mg sodium per 1 tablespoon

        Kikkoman: Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt, Sodium benzoate.
        940mg sodium per 1 tablespoon.

        Bragg is a good choice for people with gluten sensitivity/intolerance since it has no wheat and unlike most soy sauces on the market has no preservatives, no artificial flavor/colour, is GMO free and has no added salt of any kind including MSG.
        This isn’t to say there is no MSG though, msg is found naturally occurring in mushrooms, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and soybeans among many other foods. So if you are sensitive to MSG you should probably skip the soy sauce altogether since it is easy to over-consume.

        I tasted them side by side and personally I prefer the taste of bragg.
        As for health benefits though, there is some evidence to suggest that the fermentation of the soy beans in making soy sauce may be beneficial for our digestive tract and the microbes that live there … And because Bragg is not fermented and I didn’t realize that when I bought it, I will be switching to an organic naturally fermented soy sauce the next time I buy.
        I wouldn’t call any of these “health foods” but I really think the fear of MSG is a little bit unreasonable. Just like sugar and table salt it should be consumed in moderation.

        Also I am sure you have found more “natural” stock cubes by now but have you tried harvest sun brand? organic and an ingredients list you can read.

  3. JLR says:

    I am pretty blown away by your finding on fructose. For the record, I was admitted to the hospital last year for exercise-induced hyponatremia (though the symptoms didn’t emerge until several hours after my morning run). I still have so many questions about the issue, but I think this fructose finding is very helpful! For the record (and related to your soy episode), I had recently given up soy just prior to the incident, which eliminated almost all processed foods from my diet.

  4. Diane says:

    This guy has the skinny on salt – it is the refining of salt to just the sodium that is the problem, not to mention the sugar that is added (dextrose)!

  5. James P says:

    The NYT just did a piece covering the lack of benefits resulting from extreme salt restriction:

    Another interesting and unintended consequence of the anti salt campaign is the concurrent decrease in iodine consumption coupled with a rise in subclinical iodine deficiency and related hypothyroidism. This is largely because iodized salt was many people’s sole meaningful source of iodine.

    Most people don’t eat enough iodine rich foods, and it’s fairly easy to self test for iodine deficiency

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