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Salt Matters: the killer condiment

Dr Trevor C Beard

Publisher: Hachette Livre, Sydney (2007)
Paperback: 294 pages
RRP: AUD $24.95
ISBN-13: 978-0-733622-16-8

In this book Dr Trevor Beard explains how to break the salt habit by using flavours that are safer and more interesting than salt, with a whole chapter on cooking methods that conserve flavour, another whole chapter on bread, and chapters with useful recipes to get you started, helpful hints on travel, dining out and many other useful ideas for happiness as well as health, like a good low-salt Christmas, and how to get enough iodine without iodised salt [1].

Two special chapters will make you a well-informed shopper, able to handle all the traps in Australian food labels. Even the Australian edition tells travellers what they need to know about American food labels and European food labels, as you will see these labels sometimes (illegally) in Australian shops.

When you put this book down you will understand salt’s link with high blood pressure, and how it can cause or aggravate up to 20 other serious health problems. You will have good practical answers to all your questions about hot weather, sport, cramp and even dozens of important questions you had never thought of.

You will no longer be hoodwinked quite so often by vested interests when you discover how big business manipulates the market and the media, deliberately trivialising and misrepresenting the real harm of a high salt intake.

Doctors will like this book too. Busy doctors with no time to talk about food can always find time to prescribe a book. They will see far better results than they saw when patients who believed they were controlling their salt intake were still eating deceptive foods like corn flakes and ordinary bread (innocent-tasting, yet loaded with salt).

A bibliography of the published evidence for every chapter enables professional readers to check and evaluate the source of every important statement.

This book—a clear explanation of the international scientific consensus—fills a huge gap in the literature, and will help to remedy the massive public and professional blind spot about salt.

About the author:
Dr Trevor C Beard

A medical graduate of Cambridge and London, Dr Trevor Beard was in general practice for many years in Tasmania, Australia. In his later career with the Australian Department of Health his special interest was in salt as a public health issue.

Dr Beard was appointed Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Menzies Research Institute—a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Population Based Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programs. He is a founding member of AWASH (Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health), and an Honorary Life Member, Australian Nutrition Foundation. For his work in Hobart on salt and health he was elected Senior Australian of the Year 2006 for Tasmania.

Reviews of the book “Salt Matters”:

‘. . . deserves to be a best-seller’
Professor Steward Truswell, Sydney University
in ANZ Journal of Public Health

‘It is destined to be a classic’
Professor Mark Wahlqvist, Monash University, President,
International Union of Nutritional Sciences
in Australian Journal of Nutrition & Dietetics

‘Salt Matters is a well written, well researched and very
practical guide for both doctor and patient’
Professor John Murtagh, Monash University
in Australian Family Physician

How to buy Trevor Beard’s Salt Matters book:

As of 2019, new copies of the book are out-of-print and out-of-stock from all booksellers.

However, second-hand copies (especially the 2004 edition) are still available online.

Two online sellers that had second-hand copies for sale in August 2019 are:

In the search box, type:  Trevor Beard Salt Matters  (and select the Books, Magazines category).  Check postage charges before committing to buy.

In the search box, type:  Trevor Beard Salt Matters

Eat right—Electrolyte: a nutritional guide to minerals in our daily diet

Dr W Rex Hawkins

Publisher: Prometheus Books, New York (2006)
ISBN 1-59102-364-5

Dr Hawkins and his partners are busy eye specialists in Houston, Texas. In his sub-specialty of laser treatment of diseases of the retina, he has repeatedly found that an ideal balance of dietary electrolytes makes laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration (wet type) unnecessary.

He also describes his own dramatic recovery—and prolonged remission for many years—from Crohn’s disease, with no other treatment than an ideal dietary electrolyte balance. As the Salt Skip Program provides the same dietary electrolyte balance, Dr Hawkins invited me to write the Foreword when he published his clinical experiences.

This fascinating book explains WHY everybody needs a better dietary electrolyte balance, but doesn’t cater for people who want as many as possible of the practical details about HOW.


Nathan Pritikin’s book ‘Live Longer Now’

The late Nathan Pritikin broke new ground with his first book of advice and recipes for controlling fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt [2]. Pritikin used no table salt, but unfortunately even today the Pritikin Program allows bread with only a 50% reduction in the standard salt content, and so-called low salt soy sauce that is more than three times more salty than seawater.

Julie Stafford’s ‘Taste of Life’

This book has been out of print since 2003, but Penguin Books claim to have sold over 2 million copies since the first edition appeared in 1983, so second-hand copies should be fairly easy to find for a number of years. In 2007 there were plenty of Julie Stafford’s books available second-hand through online booksellers.

Julie Stafford was inspired by Pritikin, but hardly any of her recipes call for any salted ingredient, and none use table salt [3].

The Dizzy Chef—healthy cooking

Editors: Dr Trevor Beard, Sue Blackmore

Publisher: The Meniere’s Support Group of Victoria Inc. (2006)
Paperback: 88 pages
RRP $19.95
ISBN 0-646-46437-X

Available from Low Sodium Foods (the online low salt food specialists):

This cookbook republishes recipes collected from back issues of Salt Skip News for the last two decades. All recipes follow all of the Australian Dietary Guidelines, and have the approval of the Editorial Board of Salt Skip News, whose membership includes three Accredited Practising Dietitians, all of whom are university academics. They are arranged in chapters headed Breakfast, Breads, Soups, Salads, Vegetarian, Fish, Chicken, Meats, Desserts, Baked Goods, Condiments and Festive Season.

Other cookbooks catering for a healthy diet

Look for a cookbook that displays more than an elementary knowledge of good nutrition. You are looking for a needle in a haystack, and this applies (surprisingly) to low salt cookbooks as well.

Don’t waste money on books with unhealthy recipes that you won’t use. Too many authors are still living in the past, when you had to put up with an artificial diet (salt ‘restriction’) because you were thought to be too sick to tolerate ‘normal’ food. So low salt recipes—even today—often contain cream, butter, eggs and sugar, as it were bad enough to be ‘restricting’ salt without having to control fat, saturated fat and sugar as well.

Look for books that remove the worst faults of the modern industrial diet by following the international dietary guidelines to control fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. It is a pity these books are so rare.

Even your national heart foundation will often disappoint you, with good recipes for controlling fat and saturated fat, which often pay lip service to controlling salt, and will seldom control it well enough to prevent fluid retention.

Part of the problem is that they assume you will take a diuretic for fluid retention. Very few people are yet aware that the big Sydney teaching hospitals find that good salt control (defined in the Professional Pages as a sodium excretion rate below 50 mmol/day), is ‘more effective and less troublesome than a diuretic’. For a bibliographic reference for this, see the page ‘Is It True?


  1. Beard TC. Salt matters: a consumer guide. Melbourne: Lothian Books; 2004.
  2. Pritikin N, Leonard JN, Hofer JL. Live longer now. New York: Grosset & Dunlap; 1974.
  3. Stafford J. Taste of life. Melbourne: Viking O’Neill; 1991.

Page last modified on: Friday 16 August 2019

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