Dr. Lawrence Appel, Welch Center Core Faculty member, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times in two different articles in the “Health” section of the October 27th issue. In both articles, he was cited as an expert on the role of salt in hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
One article appeared in a feature called “Nutrition Lab” that reported on the trend in the use of gourmet salts. They are often favored by cooks for their distinctive colors, flavors and textures, which result from the presence in them of various minerals. The article sought to disabuse consumers of the belief that they are healthier because they contain lower levels of sodium. In fact the difference in sodium from table salt is negligible, and they also lack the iodine that is added to table salt. Dr. Appel is quoted as stating that using gourmet salts will not help people who are watching their blood pressure to lower their sodium intake significantly.
The other article reported on research, including the DASH studies, that established the link between salt intake and blood pressure, and more recent studies that have strengthened the evidence for a connection between sodium intake and heart disease. The article also cites industry claims and some studies that suggest no such relationship between sodium intake and one or more health problems. Dr. Appel is quoted in this article as pointing out weaknesses in the research of the salt defenders. He also responds to the claim that salt may pose health threats to only some people by likening it to tobacc Even though it may be impossible to predict which persons who smoke will develop lung cancer, for instance, tobacco’s ill effects are sufficiently widespread and well established to warn all persons against its use.
The full text of each of the articles is accessible below:
Gourmet salts: better-tasting but not better for you
Making the salt-blood pressure link