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November 10, 2011

The Sleeper Curve: More Evidence

Everything bad is good for you. I wrote about this last July.

In Sleeper, Woody Allen's character, the owner of a health food store, wakes up in the future to find that junk food is good for you, among other things. It's a fish out of water story. "The Sleeper Curve" is an expression that acknowledges the fact that much of the absurd humor in the movie is coming true. The expression comes from a book by Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.

Here are some of the items from that post:

And now? From Time Magazine, any blood pressure-lowering benefit of reduced salt intake is offset by other changes. This goes further than the study linked above because it outlines why low salt diets increase the risk of death. It turns out salt helps your body get rid of bad cholesterol.

Danish researchers report in the American Journal of Hypertension that reducing sodium consumption led to a 1% drop in blood pressure in people who had normal pressure readings, and a 3.5% drop in those with hypertension. But other changes may offset those benefits: people who cut dietary salt also saw a 2.5% increase in cholesterol levels and a 7% boost in triglycerides. Like high blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are risk factors for heart disease. Excessive triglycerides can also contribute to diabetes.

(Emphasis mine.) What, you mean tweaking an ultra-complex system based on incomplete information and then telling others to do the same can have unintended bad consequences? No way!

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posted by rdbrewer at 11:40 AM

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