Thursday, 30 April 2015

Dodgy graph of the week

Consensus Action on Salt's threw their toys out of the pram again yesterday in the BMJ. In short, they got a large reduction in salt levels through a voluntary agreement between government and industry, and are now attacking the government for not forcing food companies to reduce it even more.

Since the anti-salt crusade began in the 1990s, new evidence has appeared to show that a low-salt diet isn't actually that good for you (eg. here and here - and see here for a summary). The policy of population-wide salt reduction, as opposed to targeted interventions for high-risk groups, remains contentious, but Consensus Action on Salt claim that the UK's 15 per cent reduction in salt intake has prevented thousands of deaths from heart disease.

I don't know whether this is true or not, but the evidence they present in their BMJ article certainly does not persuade me. Here it is...

So salt intake fell between 2003 and 2011 and so did deaths from heart disease. What compelling evidence! How wonderfully liberated from historical context it is!

Let's take a look at heart disease mortality over the long term, shall we? (Data from the British Heart Foundation.)

Campaign to your heart's content, CASH, but please don't insult our intelligence.

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