Obesity and the Salt Connection
What follows is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote for the British monthly glossy magazine of Mensa, the high IQ society, of which I am a member. It was published in the December 2004 issue. Four months later, the April 2005 issue contained a letter from Joyce Barnard, who has given permission for her name to be used here. She wrote that by following the advice I had given her a few years earlier - i.e. that to lower her high blood pressure and lose weight she simply needed to eat less sodium - she had lost 5 stones in weight (70 pounds) in a year! - All she did was stop sprinkling salt onto her meals and use LoSalt instead of ordinary salt when cooking.
Many years ago I gained a great deal of weight because of taking HRT prescribed by my GPs, mainly on the advice of an endocrinologist. - I did not realise at the time that the weight gain was because of the medication.
I became desperately ill and exhausted and had very high blood pressure for which I took Atenolol, a beta-blocker. I was so fat I could barely walk. Yet I was not overeating. My feet, hands and breasts were exquisitely painful and very red and swollen. I was unable to use my hands for many tasks. I needed a larger size in shoes. My face and neck became beetroot red and very swollen. I developed acne and eczema. I suffered from breathlessness.
Having never sprinkled salt on my food in my life, and never used it in cooking, in 1997 I became aware that there was a lot of salt in bread and cheese and breakfast cereals. Because of the connection between hypertension and salt intake I altered my eating to reduce, and eventually to exclude, all avoidable sodium. This lowered my blood pressure and I no longer needed to take Atenolol.
More spectacularly, and very unexpectedly to me, eating less salt reduced my weight by 51 pounds! - This was nothing to do with calories, fat or sugar. - The weight I lost was clearly water, which I worked out was held in my body by the salt - held in my veins, which had become massively distended and painful since I had embarked on the HRT.
I worked out that it was the oestrogen that had caused the sodium and water retention and this was confirmed when I looked in the British National Formulary for the side-effects of oestrogen. I then realised that oestrogen was a steroid, though it is not normally thought of in that category, and that the sodium and water retention came about because certain steroids and certain other prescribed drugs relax/weaken the walls of the blood vessels so that they take in excess salt and the water which accompanies it. I realised that I was a 'steroid victim'.
For many years I have been providing a free telephone helpline for people in pain in my area and for the last five years have been advising all callers to reduce their salt intake, particularly when they were obese. Their weight loss, too, has been dramatic and swift. One Mensa member whom I helped lost about a stone in a month just by eating less salt. Her dog, too, lost weight when she stopped salting his food!
I firmly believe that the massive rise in the incidence of obesity, especially child obesity, is due to the prevalence of salt in modern diets, mainly from manufactured foods, and that calorie counting and advice about reducing fat and sugar intake and increasing exercise are counter-productive.
But salt causes obesity only in vulnerable people, i.e.
People whose veins are weak because of immaturity (babies, children),
People whose veins are weak because of steroids or HRT or amitriptyline or certain other prescribed drugs, too readily prescribed, often in very high dose,
People whose natural oestrogen levels are higher than normal (e.g. pregnant women).
People whose blood vessel walls have been weakened by 'slimming' – i.e. eating insufficient food.
Inactivity does not cause obesity. Obesity causes inactivity.
In 2001 I wrote to MPs, to medical people, to journalists, to nutritionists and others, explaining that salt sensitivity is what causes obesity, and urging that the facts be made known, particularly to steroid victims. The powerful and influential people to whom I wrote have taken no action to give publicity to the life-saving message. The public is not being told the truth about weight gain and weight loss. The best, the healthiest, the safest way to lose weight is to concentrate on eating less salt (and more potassium).
An Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Oxford, Professor Sir Richard Doll, wrote back to me in August 2001 that I was right about steroids causing weight gain because of salt and water retention and that weight can be lost by eating less salt or by taking diuretics. Sadly he seems to be the only medic who knows this! - A book on salt, written by experts on hypertension and brought out in a blaze of publicity a few years ago makes no mention of steroid victims and specifically states, among other errors, that HRT does not cause a salt problem.
A person who gains weight has a higher calorie requirement. There are two reasons for this. Having to carry a greater mass around and service a more massive body uses more calories. And having a bigger surface area means greater heat loss, since heat lost is proportional to surface area. - A greater calorie requirement results in greater appetite/hunger, so, really, overweight people need to eat more than people of normal weight. If the overweight eat insufficient calories (ie if they 'diet') they may lose weight, but it is at the cost of being hungry. There has never been the slightest evidence that the practice of fewer calories in and more calories out by way of exercise reduces obesity! - It is often confidently stated that fat will be lost by doing this. - Sadly, what is more often lost is lean tissue, usually an irreversible adverse effect.
The result of the misunderstanding of the cause of obesity is the well-known fact that over 95% of dieters actually gain weight in the long term! - They cannot be expected to go hungry all the time. - Nor would staying hungry all the time benefit them. - With insufficient calories for the body's needs, the body feeds on itself. - The skin becomes thinner; the bones become less dense; there is some hair loss, etc.
Contrast this with the right way to lose weight - by eating less sodium. - Eating less sodium releases some of the excess water held in the blood stream. This lowers the blood pressure and, significantly, lowers the weight. - Weighing less results in a lower calorie requirement so very gradually less food is eaten and this becomes a virtuous circle because less food eaten results in lower sodium intake.
In societies in which no salt is eaten (what some might describe as undeveloped or uncivilised societies) there is no obesity and no hypertension.
The cavemen and women who were our ancestors lived for millennia without added salt. Our bodies evolved on a low sodium and high potassium intake. The modern diet has reversed this to high sodium and low potassium. The intake of salt has massively increased in recent years - as has the incidence of obesity.
I submit that the universal 'slimming' advice - to eat fewer calories/less fat/sugar - is a major cause of obesity. - All that is normally necessary to lose weight is to eat less salt/sodium. This is a drug-free, cost-free course of action. There are no hunger pangs and no adverse side-effects. It requires no visits to the doctor or to the gym and it WILL work.
Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! -Try it! My website http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/ provides more details and advice. (The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.)
Anyone is welcome to copy this article in whole or in part, provided only that it is always attributed to me, Margaret Wilde, that the information is provided free, and that my web-site address http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/ is always included.
If you wish to get in touch with me, you can email me from my website.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Obesity and the Salt Connection
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Developing cataracts is one if the lesser-known possible consequences of eating a high salt diet. - See http://www.saltmatters.org/site/uploads/PDFs/SRHP%2025+table.pdf - See also http://wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/conditions.html
Sunday, February 09, 2014
By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. And you may unwittingly increase the problem by drinking, say, coffee, which is widely considered to have diuretic properties. Alcohol too is a diuretic. If you are thirsty, you would be much better slaking your thirst with plain water. Salty drinks are clearly inadvisable, and sugary drinks also tend to increase thirst. You are not in need of vague 'liquid'; you are specifically in need of PLAIN WATER.
So a major, rather strange, consequence of taking these dangerous, over-prescribed drugs, is that while taking them you tend to be chronically thirsty (particularly if taking a high dose), and chronically in a state of dehydration, yet carrying around with you a lot of excess water, mainly in your blood vessels, particularly in your poor, over-stretched, weakened, increasingly painful veins. See my website for helpful information and suggestions relating to these problems.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
It was a different kind of Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, in which contributors spoke Truth about the Abuse of Power
We heard the media itself indicted in the global conspiracy of the powerful against the powerless masses of the poor. (Noam Chomsky and John Pilger and others have told us about this many times before.) We heard much about "War and the Pity of War". We heard from individuals who are suffering from the physical and psychological trauma and indignities inflicted on them as a result of Wars. We heard of the overwhelming greed associated with power.
I wasn't taking notes, and I missed much of the programme, so I do not know whether it included the malign power of the Drug Companies, the ghastly cruelty of much of the Farming Industry, the Food Industry's assaults on our health, and the corruption that put profits before truth in so much of what purports to be Science.
Were I to become a guest editor on the Today programme, I would seek to draw attention the word games devised for the NHS to abuse its power/unaccountability in order carry out profitable state torture and murder of many elderly and other vulnerable patients. - You remember, don't you, the so-called Liverpool Care Pathway? - I believe they are intending to continue using the LCP under a new name...
I would seek to draw attention to the prevalence of pharmaceutical drugs which deplete the body's vitamins and minerals, food processing which adulterates and transforms healthy fats to unhealthy fats (see also http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/health/a-lifelong-fight-against-trans-fat.html?_r=5&), adds chemical toxins and minimises nutrients to produce processed pretendfood/crap/junk, instead of good, nourishing food; food processing that kills off good bacteria, distorts our body's mineral and fat metabolisms, interferes with our hormones and with our gut activity, and thus makes us chronically ill, as well as ill-informed.
The programme would seek to explain how so much of the human race, and the animals and crops that feed us, are now become grotesque distortions of their healthier ancestors. - And who knows what horrors still await us when Genetically Modified Organisms have had longer in which to wreak their havoc?
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Don't damage your health for the sake of appearing polite to your host/hostess/family/fellow guests, etc! - The Christmas season can be a difficult time for people who are trying to avoid foodstuffs and drinks that they know are harmful to them. - If your host/ess is pressing you to have a second helping when you've really had enough, or tempting you to a salty food or sugary confection you would rather forego, be resolute! - Just politely say, 'No thank you'. - You do not have to give a reason (which could invite dissension). - Be polite, clear and firm. - If you waver and allow yourself to be persuaded against your better judgment, you may find your tempter conclude that you did want it after all and that you are someone who usually needs to be asked more than once. Similarly if you would prefer not to have a cigarette or an alcoholic drink. - Resist the "Go on! - It's Christmas! - It won't harm you to have a little drink/treat once in a while!" - That may - or more likely may not - be true, but you are an autonomous adult and should be allowed to make your own decisions about whether to partake or not. It is not obligatory to over-indulge when you'd rather not.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Many people who were not sensitive to salt become so when they take certain prescription drugs. - Yes. These are some of the pharmaceutical drugs that cause salt sensitivity and a host of associated health problems: amitriptyline and the other tricyclic antidepressants, also many prescribed steroid meds, including HRT and some birth control meds, also Epilim and other anticonvulsants, and some painkillers, and some anti-psychotic drugs. And you can read here about other groups of people who are or who can become vulnerable to salt in different ways.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Women with agonising toothache in the 1980s used to encounter daftnesses like these:
Saying that you are in such agonising pain that you are contemplating suicide, proves you are 'really' depressed. You do not need your imaginary pain to be dealt with; you just need antidepressants.
"Prescribing antidepressants to someone who is contemplating suicide because of the intensity and long duration of pain is a life-saving measure and I am proud of saving lives in this way." - A belief (about their women patients) commonly held by GPs in the 80s.
"He wasn't being rude to you. Speaking like that is just his way." - This was Miss Anne Atkinson's response when I told her that Mr Reg Dinsdale had repeatedly addressed me as "You Fat Depressives" (plural), instead of by my name. These two misguided health professionals worked at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital. Mr Dinsdale was an 'eminent' oral surgeon. Miss Atkinson was a Senior Lecturer in dentistry who claimed to be trying to help me.
When I told my then GP, Dr Hazel Radley, of Mr Dinsdale's insulting way of speaking to me, she described it as "Shock Treatment", intended to 'shock' me out of believing that I was in pain!
Miss Atkinson demonstrated her own mastery of daft dental logic by insisting to me that I was not really in pain, I only thought I was in pain!
And when Mr Dinsdale was performing an apicectomy on my UL2, he told his student assistant that Depressives did not actually feel pain, they only complained about being in pain! - And when bone failed to regenerate after his poorly performed apicectomy, which had left me in greater pain than before, he told the student who was looking at the X-ray with him that 'neurotics' were very poor at regenerating bone! - Very clearly, this man was deluded. An 'ordinary dentist', a general dental practitioner, did a re-apicectomy on the UL2 the following year, and this time the op was done properly and the infection was properly removed so that the bone did at last regrow.
I was sent by Roger Heesterman - Community Dental Officer, I think his title was - in a further stage of the cynical game of pretending that something was being done to help me, to see a Mr Hirschmann, another high-up dentist at a dental hospital in another city, (Heestermann could, and should, in my opinion, have helped me himself. He was a qualified dentist after all. But I suppose there was some Dept of Health rule that people complaining of dental negligence must on no account receive any actual help, only exhausting hassle so that they'd give up their struggle.)
Hirschman said that no doubt I did have some dental problems, but that the real problem was depression. He said that he wouldn't indulge me by taking any X-rays and that none of the dentists there would help me, but possibly one of the students could be spared after the summer holidays...
In contrast to all this daft dangerous misogynistic nonsense:
I had an article published in Mensa magazine about my great suffering at the hands of high-up dental drips: Cruelty, Negligence and the Abuse of Power in the NHS: Fighting the System. Someone sent a copy of the article to an academic health campaigner, and she wrote to me to commend me for my "excellent piece in Mensa about customer complaints". She continued, "I have been fighting the medical attitude to consumer complaints - especially from women - for years - as a member of a Regional Health Board, then Chair of the Patients Association, now as a lay member of the General Medical Council.
I certainly remember a number of cases from my days at the Patients Association of patients with intractable dental pain who were treated as neurotic or frankly loony - and all women. They were laughed at, insulted and generally had a rotten time."
She went on to suggest that I should write a similar article for the British Dental Journal to get to the professionals directly. - I did, in fact, do this, but the article was rejected, as you might, perhaps, have guessed it would be.
The very top man in the whole world on the subject of pain used to be Professor Patrick Wall of University College, London, who died in 2001. In a personal letter to me some years ago, he wrote: "Simple-minded doctors and dentists (the majority) have a built-in scale of how much pain they expect for how much damage. If you fall outside their norm, you are labelled as mad. It is they who need their heads examining. They also need to read and think."
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
If you would like to further your education but the cost has put you off, this offer of free university courses may interest you
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
If you are trying to get off amitriptyline, stay motivated by focusing on how much better you will feel without it.