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Target: Salt

April 8, 2009

By David Thier103627445_d71c690a28

For New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trans-fats were easy. Cigarettes were child’s play. He’s mean, he’s ready, and he’s looking for a challenge. Watch your back, salt.

According to New York Magazine, last month Bloomberg called a clandestine meeting of health experts and food-industry reps to lay out a five-year plan to cut sodium intake by 20% over the next five years.

“People are eating too much salt, me included,” Bloomberg told a crowd of health professionals gathered at the Pierre Hotel for an awards luncheon Friday.

According to a memo from Scott Vinson, an attendee of Bloomberg’s secret meeting,no new regulation is going to be introduced, but rather there will be a voluntary effort from city restaurateurs. It is still up in the air whether the feeble-minded public will be made aware of these efforts, or if the attempt at taking away their salt would make them go Paris 1848.

The term nanny-state has been thrown around with regards to Bloomberg’s efforts to control the public health through top-down control, but he’s not bothered.

“After this, we can keep going,” Bloomberg said. “People don’t like to have somebody come in and tell them what to do, but afterward, if it turns out to be something that’s in their interest, they sure as heck say thank you.”

Salt is a tricky business, however – unlike trans-fats and cigarettes, which are hard to argue in favor for, salt is a well-respected and biologically necessary part of the human diet when used it what I’ve heard called “moderation.” Processed foods and fast-food can take a fair amount of blame for putting unhealthy amounts of salt in their food, but gourmands are not immune to excess in the wily crystal, either.

The health benefits from reducing the sodium intake of New Yorkers would be undeniable – so would dictating every citizen’s diet and regulating exercise. How far is too far? How far is not far enough? How far is just right wait stop, there?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. syncreticmystic permalink
    April 8, 2009 10:51 am

    Never mind that there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest salt consumption has drastically changed in the last 50 years. Hydrogenated processed oils and high fructose corn syrup have though. Maybe that’s what people need, some real food.

  2. April 8, 2009 11:10 am

    Turns out salt as a cause of high blood pressure is overblown. My question would be, what does the actual science (as opposed to myth, dogma and opnion) say about salt consumption. Is there any real science on the affects to humans of “too much” salt consumption? How much is too much?

  3. April 24, 2010 2:33 pm

    I’m not prepared to argue the scientific basis for concern because I’m simply not qualified. However, it seems to be my experience that “too much of a good thing is bad.”

    However, the fact is that if you eat fewer processed foods, that you will be healthier and consume less salt. You don’t salt an orange or lettuce, and certainly not in the huge quantities that a burger and fries are.

    I believe that moving to fresh fruits and veggies is better than contemplating a Happy Meal drenched in less salt, less cloggy grease, etc. If you rarely eat gourmet foods, though prepared with much salt, you will still live long and hale.

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