For those unfamiliar with Cochrane reviews, they get researchers to look at what the evidence actually is for particular medical interventions. The researchers find all the studies they can that provide evidence one way or the other on the subject, then they strip out the poor-quality studies until they only have indisputably high-quality studies left, then they go through them with a fine-tooth comb to figure out exactly what the study really does provide evidence for. They're respected around the world for the quality of their work. Their latest effort, on reducing salt in your diet, is here: Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Their plain language summary:
Cutting down on the amount of salt has no clear benefits in terms of likelihood of dying or experiencing cardiovascular diseaseGood news, huh? Apparently not. Experts reject the findings. Reuters has this to say:
Most experts are agreed that consuming too much salt is not good for you and that cutting salt intake can reduce hypertension in people with normal and high blood pressure.Well, yes. But the question is, what evidence is that consensus based on? Apparently the answer is "Nothing reliable."
But you can always rely on nutritionists not to let inconvenient facts stand in the way of dogma. A Heart Foundation nutritionist is quoted on the Science Media blog:
Other types of research have conclusively linked moderate salt reduction with reduced risk. The Heart Foundation maintains its position of advocating salt reduction for all New Zealanders...
"Other types of research?" "Conclusively?" Seems that the Cochrane group could have saved themselves the effort of studying the evidence for themselves - all they needed to do was contact the Heart Foundation and ask a nutritionist. How silly of them.