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Books, Journals, New Media
July 14, 1999

HypertensionSalt, Diet and Health: Neptune's Poisoned Chalice: The Origins of High Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


by Graham A. MacGregor and Hugh E. de Wardener, 233 pp, with illus, $64.95, ISBN 0-521-58352-7, paper, $24.95, ISBN 0-521-63545-4, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 1998.

JAMA. 1999;282(2):196-197. doi:10.1001/jama.282.2.196-JBK0714-3-1

This small book is written by two respected authorities who have published extensively in the field of hypertension and nephrology. It consists of an outline section,12 chapters, and an appendix. Throughout are many interesting black-and-white photographs, illustrations, sketches, tables, and graphs.

The authors postulate that humans were genetically programed for a low salt diet. However, over the millennia, we have acquired a taste for salt and developed an "addiction to salt." The harmful effects of high salt consumption, such as hypertension, have been recognized only relatively recently. The industries that manufacture and process salt, like the tobacco industry when confronted with data on smoking effects, have been reluctant to accept scientific studies that prove the detrimental effects of too much salt, and they continue to make high-salt foods.

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