You probably think from the title of this piece that I’m going to push the same old “salt is bad for you” junk. Well I’m not, cuz it just ain’t a fact. As much as we are being brainwashed into believing this myth, the science isn’t there to support it yet. So put this one right up there with “fat is bad for you” and “masturbation will give you hairy palms”.
Unfortunately, the powers that be keep jumping into the act. According to recent reports, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering tightening regulations on salt labeling, especially in processed foods. I’ve got no problem with this except that it doesn’t mean dink. It isn’t the salt in processed foods that’s bad for you, but the processing–that is, the chemicals and sythetic foods (MSG, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, hydrolysed soy bean product, and the like) and the all around poor quality of the food.
These regulations are based on the rationale that lowering salt intake decreases blood pressure in hypertensives–that’s true; it does. However, there is no conclusive evidence that lowered salt intake has beneficial effects in healthy people. This public health fallacy came about when researchers found that some people are salt sensitive. Salt sensitive people do have a dangerous increase in blood pressure when they eat too much salt (i.e. too much for them). Interestingly, public health officials found that it would be a lot easier, and less costly, to recommend salt reduction for all people rather than test the entire population for salt sensitivity. And thus the birth of the low dietary salt fallacy.
Now here’s what I want to get across to you: I couldn’t care less about whether people eat less salt or the government decides to tighten labelling. What I’ve got an issue with is the dissemination of false information. Why should we all direct our lives based on a non-truth? And why should I (or any other salt lover) be forced to eat bland food because of the uninformed public’s desire to be healthy? Get my point? I’m the first one to cheer healthiness…when it’s based on truth. But when somebody tries to feed me bullshot and tells me it’s caviar, I’m sorry, but that shot don’t fly. I’m happy to curb my habits when sound science shows them to be dangerous, but I just don’t like the taste of bland caviar. Now put that in you salt shaker and sprinkle it.
For more on the fallacies of lowered salt intake and lowered blood pressure, please read this great article from Scientific America.
And more here.