Ignore reports that link salt with health issues. If there is a link here, it's not salt, it's junk sodium

Behind the curtain!

If you were watching CSIand the detectives were examining a murder victim while someone with a knife was hiding behind a curtain, what would you do?

I know what I would do. I would be yelling at my TV screen, “Behind the curtain! Look behind the curtain!”

Basically, that’s what I did when I read about a study that links salt with multiple sclerosis. I found myself thinking (and in my thoughts, yelling), “It’s not SALT! It’s SODIUM!”

Behind the curtain! Look behind the curtain!

Three silent killers

Salt causes MS? That’s completely absurd. So let’s start here…

Whatever you do, DO NOT cut salt out of your diet. And please ignore any conspiracy theories about how salt is plotting against you. Salt is good for you! Your body needs sodium in the form of salt to survive.

But other common forms of dietary sodium… That’s another story.

Processed foods and foods in restaurants are loaded with potentially dangerous forms of junk sodium. For instance…

Sodium benzoate is a widely used preservative. You’ll find it in carbonated drinks, fruit juices and condiments such as salsa. But research shows that SB may promote infections and cancer by shutting off oxygen from cells. SB intake may also increase risk of Parkinson’s and neuro-degenerative diseases.

Sodium nitrate is a common ingredient in processed meats. In your body, SN interacts with protein to form compounds that can cause DNA damage. Research links this damage to higher risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancers of the digestive tract. SN can also damage blood vessels, increasing risk of heart disease.

And then there’s the Big Kahuna of junk sodium… MSG.

Monosodium glutamate is the notorious flavor enhancer that that can trigger many minor problems. You’re probably familiar with this list… Heart palpitations, chest pains, headaches, sweating, burning sensations, etc.

But like SB and SN, MSG can also damage cells. Nerve cells in the brain are particularly vulnerable. And like those other sodium forms, MSG may play a role in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The next time you hear about salt causing any type of health problem, replace the word “salt” with “junk sodium,” and you’ll have a clear idea of what’s REALLY going on behind the curtain.

And remember, junk sodium is to salt as high fructose corn syrup is to raw Manuka honey.

“Salt May Spur Multiple Sclerosis, Autoimmune Disease” Pauline Anderson, Medscape, 3/8/13, medscape.com

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