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Often cited for its adverse health effects, salt is in fact an essential nutrient and one that we runners can ill afford to neglect


Do you follow the dietary guideline about drinking lots of water? Do you follow the advice to reduce your salt intake? If you do both of these things you are probably risking your health and reducing your strength and fitness. We are constantly told to reduce salt and we see ‘low salt’ foods advertised everywhere. Why do they do this; what exactly is wrong with salt?

Experiments conducted in the 1950s suggested that an excess of salt caused high blood pressure and high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. When the National Dietary Guidelines were put together in the 1970s, heart disease was everybody’s greatest fear. A low salt diet only reduces blood pressure by a fairly insignificant three or four points and it does so by reducing blood volume, which is not a particularly good thing. But the fear of heart disease was so great at the time that this research was accepted and recommendations to eat a maximum of six grams of salt per day were introduced. Like so many things in the dietary guidelines, there had been no trials to test the recommendation being made. They just thought they should go for the opposite of what they thought was bad. This is the same mistake they made when they demonised fat and had no alternative other than to recommend carbohydrate instead. The world-wide obesity epidemic is the result of that mistake.

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About Men's Running

Ready to take your running off-road? Then make sure you pick up a copy of the October issue of Men’s Running – our trail special. If you’re a persistent pavement pounder, or are completely new to running altogether, our Beginner’s Guide to Trail will tell you all you need to know about picking the right kit, finding the right routes and tailoring your training for efficient running away from the asphalt and tarmac. We’ve also got exclusive reviews of the latest trail shoes, top-to-toe kit suggestions for every off-road scenario and the latest tech to keep you on track. If it’s inspiration you’re in need of, our lead feature – a stunning trail runner’s guide to the Jurassic Coast – will have you leaping over your nearest stile quicker than you can remember you’ve only just cleaned your trainers. And don’t worry, if trail really isn’t your thing, we’ve also got the usual training advice, race reports and nutrition know-how to help you run stronger than ever.