Friday, August 11, 2017

Salt is the new Coconut Oil

My explanation on why salt intake doesn't affect blood pressure, but no one believes differential equations.
I should just write a template article that goes like this: You know that food that the authorities are telling you will kill you? Well it turns out that it's actually protective in the exact way they say it's dangerous.

Rather than rehash the old arguments on why the medical community is wrong about saturated fat, we can do the same thing on why they're all wrong on salt.  For me, just looking at the math, it's obvious that sodium intake has nothing to do with blood pressure. But it's hard to argue chemical kinetics when most people hate chemistry.

I've picked up pieces of the puzzle over the years and basically came to the conclusion that high insulin (from too much sugar) drives salt hording in the kidneys which drives the high blood pressure. But what I didn't know until today is that a low salt diet will drive insulin resistance which drives high insulin that drives salt hording which drives high blood pressure.

What? I thought high salt intake drove high blood pressure, that's what my doctor told me. As usual, it looks like the research community has it backwards and that low salt can drive high blood pressure.

This makes perfect sense. Your body has tons of feedback mechanisms to try to maintain homeostasis. So if your body notices low salt, it has to try to keep what it has - salt is super important to your biochemistry - so it ticks on a little bit of insulin resistance to tell the kidneys to hold on to the salt a little longer. Unfortunately using insulin resistance as the feedback mechanism, you are now causing chronic hyperinsulinemia which affects your body fat storage. That's right folks, a low salt diet can cause you to gain fat!

So when we talk about overweight and obese folks who have "metabolic syndrome" we see a collection of symptoms that include both insulin resistance and high blood pressure. It actually doesn't matter how we got there, but we get caught in a feedback loop where listening to the medical advice makes it worse.

Case 1: Western diet (high sugar, high vegetable oil) causes insulin resistance. You gain weight. Your doctor tell you to eat a heart friendly low saturated fat (high sugar, high veggie oil), low salt diet. Your body sees the low salt, makes more insulin resistance. You keep trying more and more of the same thing and everything keeps getting worse.

Case 2: You eat a low salt diet. Your body notices that, starts a little insulin resistance to hoard salt. Your blood pressure goes up. You see your doctor, he says to eat a heart friendly low saturated fat (high sugar, high veggie oil), low salt diet. Your body starts storing fat. You keep trying more and more of the same thing and everything keeps getting worse.

It doesn't matter where you start, once things get out of whack, and you follow the conventional "healthy" advice, you'll get into a cycle where things keep getting worse.

For a more in-depth discussion on this, go read this post by Amy Berger over at Tuit Nutrition - she's really good at translating the nutrition literature. I tend to simplify and gloss over things, and she's better with the details.

tl;dr - Do exactly the opposite of what the medical community tells you (for chronic illness).


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


power snatch 3-2-4x2


5 push-ups between strength sets

Group Workout

6 rounds:
8 goblet squats
8 kettlebell swings


4 rounds:
15 bodyweight row
3L, 3R kettlebell snatch


2 minute 1 arm bodyweight row hold
switch arms as needed 


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