Noakes rubs in the salt

20 August 2015 - 02:12 By Katharine Child

Banting guru Tim Noakes has now taken on the widely held belief that too much salt is bad for you. In his new recipe book for children, Raising Superheroes, the professor - known for promoting saturated fat and condemning carbohydrates in the diet - claims there is no strong evidence to support this.The World Health Organisation suggests adults have no more than a teaspoon of salt a day, but the book states that "... the suggestion that we should reduce our salt intake is not as strongly supported by evidence".Noakes does agree with the WHO that sugar is bad for you.He may not be entirely wrong about salt.A Cochrane Review, a world-renowned analyst of evidence on salt, found that reducing its intake lowered blood pressure over six months but the evidence of individual salt reduction preventing strokes and heart disease was "weak".But the review said that its findings did "not mean that advising people to reduce salt should be stopped".Speaking to The Times, Noakes said: "There is no evidence that salt is bad for one's health. The previous evidence was wrong, and presumably industry-driven. It is sugar and carbohydrates that drive up blood pressure in those who are insulin-resistant."We blamed the wrong white crystals - it is sugar not salt that drives up the blood pressure."Dietician Tabitha Hume said: "Not everyone gets salt-related hypertension so Noakes is half right."But she urged the public to visit registered qualified dieticians rather than "rely on every Tom, Dick and Harry for medical advice".She said a qualified professional could assess if a person has salt-related hypertension."The public is being taken advantage of, by virtue of this cult popularity and the 'Dr' prefix guaranteeing that this is the current and safe method to follow. None of the authors [of Raising Superheroes] are trained dieticians."This is not accurate - one of the three authors is a registered paediatric dietitian*.The Heart and Stroke Foundation this week noted that one in 10 South African children had high blood pressure, and encouraged children to have less salt.Noakes's latest book is filled with untested theories and what is considered good advice - such as not bribing children with chocolate - but Hume, who reviewed it for The Times, warned that it was not all scientific or sound health advice.*Tabitha Hume since found out that one author was a dietician. Tabitha was assuming that this was another diet book written by Noakes with no dieticians' input. She apologises for the oversight.

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