March 28, 2023

Advice for everyone to eat low salt diets is misguided and unhelpful for the majority of people. A new study helps highlight the futility of this advice and shows that getting enough potassium is likely more important than focusing on sodium and salt intake. Here are the take home messages for you.

Salt has got to be one of the most controversial topics when it comes to nutrition now fat and saturated fat and eggs like those are those are pretty controversial too but salt in its own really uh the message and the science and the controversy really just continues to grow now one thing that i’ve been big on is that i think our fear of salt is far overplayed for

The majority of people and we need to be clear about how salt interacts with potassium and there’s a new study that came out that really highlights this so i want to report this to you so you can understand for yourself whether salt’s important and what other factors you need to consider for your blood pressure your cardiovascular outcomes that may be unrelated to

Salt foreign er the medical director of and the study i want to talk about is called sex specific associations between potassium intake blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes the epic norfolk study published in the european heart journal now before we get started on the details of the study um here’s the thing we’ve sort of been inundated with

Information saying salt is bad because salt will raise your blood pressure which will cause poor cardiovascular outcomes but that simply is not true for the vast majority of the population there are studies that show there’s maybe 25 percent of the population is salt sensitive where 75 percent of the population is not there are observational studies like the pure

Trial that show that people wait the lowest amount of sodium actually had a higher mortality rate than the people who are sort of in the in the middle the high ground of that four to seven grams kind of did the best observational study right so the concept of needing to eat 1500 milligrams of sodium is absurd for the overall general population also observational

Studies where do you get your sodium from are you getting it from a big bag of potato chips and you know desserts and processed foods or are you just adding some sodium to your fresh veggies and your meat and you know very different scenarios that a lot of these trials don’t pick up but here’s the other thing the importance of potassium and that’s something that’s

Not talked about a lot but i’ve done some videos on so one take home for you because potassium is probably more important than sodium increasing potassium is more important than lowering sodium i should say because there is a definite association with higher potassium intake and lower blood pressure and lower cardiovascular outcomes when you talk to or when you

Talk about the old dash studies which is the this trial where sort of the salt restriction really became most popular when you evaluate those in the highest salt sodium intake range who also had high potassium intake range they did not have an increase in blood pressure so i’m going to say that again those who ate the most sodium and the most potassium did not have

A rise in blood pressure so that’s what this new study also shows but it talks about it specifically for women so one very clear finding in this study in women didn’t matter how much salt you ate as long as you’re eating enough potassium there was no influence on your blood pressure no negative influence in fact the more potassium you make the lower your blood

Pressure became right so the importance of sodium in sorry the importance of potassium intake kind of outweighed the sodium intake in this study now again it’s an observational study just data mining from food frequency questionnaires and you know healthy user bias and all those things we’ve talked about for these observational studies but the report says it was

Not true for men and this is what’s kind of interesting because if you look at it it kind of wished you for men too and before they started adjusting for a lot of different factors there was a significant improvement in blood pressure for the highest amount of potassium intake but then as you started adjusting for all the differences which there were quite a few

Differences at baseline that when that started to fade away so i think the interpretation is that we can’t say much about men we can’t say it doesn’t affect men in any way we can’t say potassium isn’t important for men the study just wasn’t a good enough study to figure that out but we can say there’s a clear association for higher potassium being important for

Women in terms of lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes but it doesn’t mean it’s not for men right and this is that concept of absence of proof is not proof of absence right that just because it wasn’t shown to be true it doesn’t prove it’s not true and that’s a kind of a tricky concept in in interpreting these studies that not everybody understands

Me myself i founded that trap as well that i don’t i’ll frequently say oh this showed that there’s no difference well no i mean it showed that there wasn’t a difference but does not prove that there is no difference and especially when you’re talking about a low quality study like this so what’s the take home well the take home is most people don’t have to worry

So much about salt how do you know if you do well if you eat higher salt and you feel bloated and you feel swollen and you’re gaining weight or you see that your ankles are swelling or your hands are swelling that’s a sign that salt causes you to retain fluid the other thing is if your blood pressure is going up you can easily measure your blood pressure start

Increasing your salt intake and see if it makes a difference another important point though like i mentioned where are you getting your salt from as long as you’re eating a whole foods low carb or high satiety diet that isn’t ha you know doesn’t include highly processed ultra processed foods you’re adding salt to that whole foods low processed foods diet chances

Are that’s going to be very different than than the alternative and what’s good about that is if you’re eating plenty of fibrous veggies and getting some of your fat from avocados those are high potassium sources meat’s got potassium too so those are great potassium sources where you’re naturally going to be increasing your potassium so according to these studies

The sodium is likely going to have much less of an impact for you okay so those are some tips hopefully that you can kind of internalize to try and figure out are you do you need to worry about sodium them all just talk about sodium and salt and restriction again for most people it doesn’t matter but it’s important to know if it does matter to you because then it

Could have an impact on your health but make sure you’re eating adequate potassium and if you’re not eating high potassium foods you can take potassium supplements just make sure you have normal kidney function before doing that talk to your physician if there’s any concern there but those are some important concepts we’ve got to get away from the salt is bad end

Of story because it’s simply not true all right thanks a lot everybody we’ll see you here next time on diet doctor news on youtube take care

Transcribed from video
Is potassium more important than sodium? By Diet Doctor