General Article There's no debate: lowering salt cuts strokes and heart attacks

Topic Selected: Food and Diet
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The salt debate has filled the pages of health magazines and newspapers for years. From John Swales’ original scepticism in 1988 to the Godlee’s sharp call to reality in 1996, the debate has transcended the scientific arena into public opinion and media campaigns with increasingly passionate tones. Now a new study, published in BMJ Open, suggests that a 15% drop in daily salt intake in England between 2003 and 2011 led to 42% less stroke deaths and a 40% drop in deaths from coronary heart disease. So where does this leave the salt debate?

The salt controversy has been particularly heated since the translation of the results of scientific studies into public health and policy actions and the ‘salt debate’ has become for some a ‘salt war’. The progression of this debate into a war resembles past and present debates (let us think about John Snow and the cholera epidemic in the 19th century, the long-lasting denial of the harm of tobacco smoking in the 20th century, global warming and ...

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