We've known for ages that salt - the wicked and evil thing we must remove from our diet - is, in truth, a pretty benign substance at the levels most of us consume. And we also need it in our diet.
Slowly people are beginning to realise this - here's the New York Times:
With nearly everyone focused on the supposed benefits of salt restriction, little research was done to look at the potential dangers. But four years ago, Italian researchers began publishing the results from a series of clinical trials, all of which reported that, among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death.
Those trials have been followed by a slew of studies suggesting that reducing sodium to anything like what government policy refers to as a “safe upper limit” is likely to do more harm than good. These covered some 100,000 people in more than 30 countries and showed that salt consumption is remarkably stable among populations over time.
When several agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, held a hearing last November to discuss how to go about getting Americans to eat less salt (as opposed to whether or not we should eat less salt), these proponents argued that the latest reports suggesting damage from lower-salt diets should simply be ignored.
‘...in the case of nutrition and health, just as in the case of education, the gentleman in Whitehall really does know better what is good for people than the people know themselves.’