What if blood pressure - heart attacks, strokes - is not about salt consumption?

We would warn that we’re not doctors here, there’s a marked absence of any form of medical training floating about. However, we are connoisseurs of how an incorrect idea can become embedded in the political process and thus drive the world to ruin as it is incorporated into all policy. There’s really no other excuse for socialism for example, is there?

Which brings us to this conjunction of stories, interestingly in the same paper on the same day. Public Health England spitting their dummy out and banging the tray of the high chair in toddler tantrum over salt:

Health chiefs have demanded “no more excuses” after new figures showed just half of targets to cut salt intake in common foods have been met.

A report by Public Health England (PHE) reveals zero progress reducing average salt content in some foods – including bacon and ham – since pledges were made four years ago.

Ministers have repeatedly vowed to wage war on salt, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The new analysis found that just 52 per cent of the average sodium level targets were met for products consumed in the home, PHE said.

Meat products were the saltiest culprits, with no average targets met and 43 per cent of products above recommended maximum limits.


Exercise may be as good at drugs at reducing high blood pressure, research suggests.

The study – the first of its kind – pooled data from almost 400 trials looking at the impact of either medication or physical activity.

It found that for those with high blood pressure, exercise seemed to be just as effective as most drugs used to treat it.

PHE is telling us that more have high blood pressure, more die from heart attacks and strokes as a result. Let’s just leave aside the usual points that as we’ve largely conquered communicable disease as a cause of death of course this will happen as we will all die of something.

But what if it’s not the salt as the cause? For we do know that with the near total absence of manual labour in our rich and modern economy near all of us are taking very much less physical exercise than our forbears. Yes, we do know this as the recommended calorie intakes these days are well below what those forbears would have lost significant weight upon. Actually, today’s average recommendation is below a minimal WWII rationing diet and about half a front line soldier’s in WWI.

No, we don’t know but we really are certain that we should all go and find out. For, as we continually point out around here, we can never come up with a solution to a problem unless we correctly identify the cause of it.