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Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care

The Dietary Guideline with Great Therapeutic Potential

Trevor C. Beard

Australian Journal of Primary Health 14(3) 120 - 131
Published: 10 January 2008


Prescribing 'salt restriction' for patients with salt-related health problems - using diets measuring sodium content and portion sizes - has been notoriously unpopular and unreliable, and the only therapeutic alternative has been to prescribe diuretics. This article reports a new observation that total salt intake is low enough (sodium < 5 0 mmol/day) to be more effective and less troublesome than diuretics in people who follow the Australian dietary guideline to choose foods low in salt while using the definition of low salt foods in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Na =120 mg/100g). Low salt foods - eaten exclusively during human evolution - can usually abolish the severe vertigo of Meniere’s disorder as the sole treatment, and reverse the universal rise of blood pressure with age, preventing hypertension. This simple prescription for better food (a healthier salt intake) enables health professionals to obtain measurable and permanent clinical improvement in motivated patients. The full public health potential of better food will require a long period of gradual reform in food processing and the evolution of a new cuisine. Shoppers must know what they are buying, and Australia needs Britain’s traffic light labels that identify low salt foods at a glance with green lights for salt.

© La Trobe University 2008

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