Globally renowned nutritionist Dr David McCarron has warned that the government’s salt policy could be “the next major public health disaster”.McCarron said the government’s advice to cut back on salt could be putting consumers at risk, because it is not based on proper clinically controlled trials. He said it had been based on results extrapolated from studies set up to look at other factors.
The UK’s current “obsession” with salt was “irrelevant” and the real challenge in tackling high blood pressure was to improve overall dietary quality, said McCarron. Mineral deficiency was, he said, a more significant cause of high blood pressure.
“Do we know that a low sodium diet saves lives? No, we don’t. The secondary evidence from trials so far says that there’s no benefit and there may be harm - these studies do not support a benefit to public health.
“My view is that it is very likely that low salt will ultimately prove to be another public health disaster. There is already sufficent evidence to suggest that low salt could actually result in increased risk of cardiovascular disease. But the reality is that the international community needs to commission controlled trials so that we have the evidence as to whether the current policy is safe and effective. To do anything less is irresponsible.”