Filed Under: Food Police

Salt Shakedown Faces Scrutiny

A national poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Monday reveals that a majority of Americans oppose an FDA takeover of how much salt restaurants and food makers can put in food. As we put it to The Wall Street Journal this week, bureaucratic meddling in salt is “an illegitimate form of government intervention” parading as paternalism “run amok.” And as a front-page USA Today story notes yesterday, Americans’ tastes make it difficult to simply slash sodium from dishes. Salt also serves important culinary functions, integral in curing and preserving bacon, olives, and fish and is crucial for making bread, said one pharmacology professor at the University of Southern California.

We elaborated on some of the less savory aspects of the salt assault at The Daily Caller, telling readers that not only is salt science far from crystallized, but mandating a population-wide sodium reduction could have unintended consequences for our health:

[T]he health effects of a countrywide sodium reduction are far from crystallized. “It is unclear what effects a low sodium diet has on cardiovascular events and mortality,” concluded a 2002 review in the British Medical Journal… Because of the variance of how people deal with salt, then, there’s no one-size-fits-all amount that the government can mandate….

And from the ever-reliable law of unintended consequences, New York Times science columnist John Tierney notes that a salt reduction could conceivably make Americans fatter. How? Because we’d eat larger amounts of low-sodium food to try to get back to the old levels of salt intake that our bodies are used to.

As Tierney jokes: “Never bet against the expansion of Americans’ waistlines, especially not when public health experts get involved.”

Read the whole piece here.

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