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Debate Rages On: Is Salt To Blame For Cardiovascular Disease?

September 1, 2011: 07:12 PM EST
Though many scientists and consumers are convinced that a salty diet is the primary contributor to high blood pressure – and increased risk of cardiovascular disease – in the Western world, recent studies cast doubt on that view, and even suggest that cutting salt intake may be harmful. One blood pressure expert in the U.K. called the evidence of the harm caused by salt intake “actually pretty flimsy.” The salt industry, of course, agrees, and one food manufacturer has started adding salt back into its products. According to this Reuters special report, the outcome of the debate will have a big impact on business. There’s the U.S. snack foods industry with annual revenue of $27 billion, for example, and the blood pressure medications industry with worldwide sales of $35 billion in 2009. But scientists have yet to come to a consensus on salt’s harmful or beneficial effects. Evidence is slight and often contradictory. So the debate rages on.
Kate Kelland, "Special Report: A pinch of doubt over salt", Reuters Health, September 01, 2011, © Thomson Reuters
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