April 25 2012
The Folly of Ingredient-Specific Taxes
Yesterday, researchers from Harvard announced the results of a new study due to be published later this year in which they claim a tax on salt in 19 countries could reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 3 percent worldwide.
That’s great…except for the fact that the latest medical research on salt casts doubt on the widely held belief that salt and cardiovascular disease are connected.
So, let’s help a (clearly research-challenged) Harvard researcher out with a few of the latest studies:
A recent study published in the science journal Nature suggests genetics, not diet, is the major contributor to hypertension. Another study this year suggested that obesity, not salt, determines an individual's blood pressure.
Last year, British researchers reviewed data from seven studies that included more than 6,200 participants, each of whom reduced his or her salt intake. The results showed that while eating less salt did lower blood pressure, it did not reduce the risk of dying or of having heart disease.
In 2006, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine of 78 million Americans found that the more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease. That's right: Those who ingested more salt had healthier hearts than those who consumed less.
In 2007, a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found no association between urinary sodium levels and the risk of coronary vascular disease or death.