Aaron E. Carroll discusses how often medical professionals and health organizations take dietary recommendations to extremes, often without scientific evidence and sometimes to the detriment of patients. Although high sodium diets can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, people on extremely low sodium diets have a higher chance of dying from cardiac events. The low sodium diet recommendations of myriad health organizations are actually putting patients at a higher risk of death. High cholesterol levels can also cause negative health effects. Doctors often overreact and put patients on prescription medication and specialized diets when their cholesterol levels are within the average range for all Americans. The public was told to avoid eating eggs altogether. Later research found that there was no reason to forego eggs and some evidence that diet is not the culprit for high cholesterol levels at all. Even the average person knows that vitamin deficiencies are a major concern. However, taking the extreme measure of giving patients huge doses of vitamins can be harmful in some instances; in other cases, since the body will simply excrete what it cannot use it is an unnecessary expense. Carroll’s overall message is that moderation is key. Going to extremes to combat health problems is itself an ill.

Key Points:

  • 1Sodium is able to harm people because it increases your chance of heart attack and strokes.
  • 2Extremes are what can cause you to become anemic or have heart attacks.
  • 3Deficiencies can cause your body to remove the vitamins but you body cannot do that for calories.


People consuming high levels of sodium had higher rates of heart attacks, heart failures and strokes as well.

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