Another Bad Study-or at least writeup of the study

Bad Data, Bad, had her very first blogiversary the other day and I look forward to the coming year where she takes apart more numbers……such as this one.

Salty diets leading to 2.3M deaths each year

I’m not a statistician, and am not going to bother looking for the study, but

For the salt study, researchers analyzed more than 240 surveys of sodium intake in 50 countries between 1990 and 2010. They then looked at studies that measured how high amounts of sodium affect blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, which includes both heart disease and stroke.

and concluded….

They concluded nearly 1 million of the deaths they attributed to excess salt in peoples’ diets came prematurely – meaning in those younger than 69 years. They also found:
60 per cent of the deaths occurred in men, 40 per cent were in women.
Heart attacks caused 42 per cent of the deaths;
strokes caused 41 per cent;
the remainder resulted from other types of cardiovascular disease.
84 per cent of the deaths due to too much sodium were in low and middle-income countries.

Let’s try this:
Who eats the most salt? check
How does salt affect blood pressure and cardiovascular disease? check
84% of deaths come from low/middle income countries. check
Salt caused 84% of the deaths. check

My head sort of snapped off right there.

UPDATE: Bad Data, Bad mentions something else to think about. Salt vs the alternative. Is salt used to preserve? And if so, are more otherwise processed foods a net good? etc, etc.

Salad dressing is a decent source of sodium in my diet, but I can guarantee I wouldn’t eat as many veggies if I had to stop using it. Does the benefit of the vegetables outweigh the detriment of the sodium? What is the value over replacement? When the low-fat craze hit, many people replaced fat in their diet with sugar. A few decades later, the general consensus is that this was a bad idea.


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