Conventional wisdom is rarely genuinely wise.
“When it comes to the salt in our food, regulators and health activists are wrong to push a one-size-fits-all sodium-restriction plan on everyone,” said Michelle Minton, a Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow and author of the report, Shaking up the Conventional Wisdom on Salt What Science Really Says About Sodium and Hypertension.
“There’s no evidence that a severe cutback in sodium will lead to overall public health gains, as regulators, activists, and media reports often claim,” Minton explained. “In fact, it may actually hurt certain groups of people. Instead, what the science shows is the best way to help prevent or treat hypertension is healthy lifestyle choices, like a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, and recommendations tailored to each person’s unique needs.”
The report makes the point that health advocates are right to worry about hypertension, a serious condition affecting a large percentage of people. Globally, around 40 percent of the population has elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk for strokes and heart attacks. The challenge facing policy makers and public health programs is how best to help people, given the genetic, lifestyle, and cultural diversity in people, within the United States and worldwide.