Too Much Salt

While linking the NY Times anyway, check out this article about concerns over salt consumption in the US and the industry’s response to it and try not to hear all the quotes in the voice of Nick Naylor.

11 replies on “Too Much Salt”

  1. Of course this raises questions…

    People say salt is bad, but is it worse than ____? Will we just cut back or replace it with ____?

    Years ago many people gave up butter thinking that margarine was a healthier alternative. Now people are going back realizing it’s not cut and dry… it’s different risks.

    Salt is used not just for flavor but as a preservative. What will be replacing it with? Is that alternative really healthier than salt? Are there no long term health effects?

    Most of the time this stuff turns out to be fear mongering possibly backed by those looking to sell alternatives. Health sells. Lets look at the history of some recent fads:

    – Your drinking water is unsafe, so drink unregulated bottled water from unknown sources.
    – You don’t get enough vitamins from your food, so buy nutritional supplements with are poorly regulated.
    – You might get sick on a plane or in a crowded place, so take Airborne which isn’t proven to prevent you from getting sick anyway.
    – Butter makes you fat, margarine is like a health food.
    – The sugar in soft drinks is bad. Fruit juice which often contains just as much sugar is offset by vitamins despite kids becoming fat from both.
    – Infinite sugar alternatives

    IMHO it’s best to just sit back and see what happens. Most of the time these things are based on poor research and biased interpretation.

    Do everything in moderation and avoid things that are obviously not good for you.

    It’s likely more people are overweight and dying from alcohol than table salt or tap water… but we don’t seem to be pushing people to cut back in that dept with anywhere near the zealotry.

    Watching TV and other sedentary activities likely kill more than any of the above thanks to the health risks… but we hardly make any real effort here either.

    Eat well, take care of yourself, and don’t get carried away with all of this stuff.

    IMHO moderation is the key. This “lets get rid of ___” is just a key indicator that this is going to end up being a wash.

  2. Those sneaky low-salt pasta sauce makers are using higher quality vine-ripened tomatoes and actual herbs to make their products tastier!

    It ain’t fair, I tells ya!

  3. At some point you have to shrug your shoulders. I’m not going to live forever in any case… I might as well eat food that doesn’t taste “medicinal.” I’m all for letting people make deliciously informed choices about their health.

  4. My GP kept recommending I decreased my salt intake every time I saw him, so I kept on decreasing, kept on decreasing, kept on decreasing. I then went to see a dietitian who told me I should increase my salt intake immediately. And I immediately felt a whole lot better because of it!

    It’s important to remember there is a lower limit as well. Salt does have it’s uses in the body! Just don’t have too much. I try to keep my sodium intake above 1000 mg these days which seems to be enough to keep me ticking over šŸ™‚

    1. I’ve totally craved salt before, actually when I was at Tracker Camp and the first few days I don’t think the food had any salt in it.

  5. I have to have a lot of salt, so I find this amusing… and my cholesterol is like 3.7 šŸ™‚ My doctor doesn’t tell me to not have it… I only would listen to her.

  6. There is typically confusion on the issue. Not everyone is salt-sensitive. I forget the population percentages.

    For those who aren’t – you can bomb your system with massive amounts of salt and think nothing of it. It’s a nice place to be.. I love salt!

    Personally though – I saw a dramatic change in my blood pressure by being more mindful of how much salt I’m consuming.

    I think the biggest problem is that there are a lot of items where you wouldn’t expect massive amounts of salt. Canned tomatoes are an excellent example. Most canned vegetables have really high amounts of salt.

    There is even a fair amount of salt in diet soda.

    1. The thing with salt is that it has to be balanced with potassium.

      People who seem to be able to “bomb” themselves with sodium may be getting more than enough potassium to balance it out.

      Our society struggles with this balance, since most people will reach for cheese, sausages, and crackers at the buffet table before they reach for fruit.

      You can get a lot of sources for this info just searching “sodium potassium balance” on Google, but here’s an article from the LA Times (2009):

      http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/23/health/he-sodium23

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