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Salt

Old 01-12-10, 03:56 PM
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Salt

Do you think the government should tell private companies what is and is not an appropriate amount of salt in their food? Should the government have the power to enforce a reduction in salt quantities at restaurants if it is proven that a good number of people are consuming more salt than is healthy?

It seems to me that education is the key here. I'm not opposed to government health agencies educating the public on these issues (although I think that role would be better suited to private organizations to begin with).

But it seems to me that this is a relatively rash move in an area that already forces restaurants to put nutritional information on their menus. It's great knowing what you are putting in your body, but that information should be enough, in my opinion. (I think the current enforcement on that issue is too strict as well, but I don't want to sidetrack this discussion).

The end result may indeed be healthier citizens. But I'm not certain the ends justify the means.
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Old 01-12-10, 04:02 PM
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Re: Salt

Ned: "It's time for nachos--Flanders style!"

Bart and Lisa: "Yayyyyy!!!"

Ned: "...cottage cheese on cucumber slices."

Rod and Tod: "Yayyyyy!!!"
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Old 01-12-10, 04:05 PM
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Re: Salt

Yes, indeedy, I do. I also think the gubmint should pay for everyone's food and send large, jovial Muppets Chef types to everyone's house to prepare it, and also provide us with adult-sized high chairs and smiling nannies to wipe the drool off our chins with ruffle edged bibs.

/end sarcasm

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Old 01-12-10, 04:23 PM
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Re: Salt

I was all for the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty since once you reached mutual assured destruction it was just silly to keep stockpiling.
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Old 01-12-10, 04:33 PM
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Re: Salt

Poster:

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Old 01-12-10, 04:34 PM
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Re: Salt

"If we know there's asbestos in a school room what do you expect us to do? Say it's not our business? I don't think so. The same thing is true with food and smoking and a lot of things. Salt and asbestos, clearly both are bad for you. Modern medicine thinks you shouldn't be smoking if you want to live longer. Modern medicine thinks you shouldn't be eating salt, or sodium."

-Mayor Bloomberg
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Old 01-12-10, 04:47 PM
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Re: Salt

When the hell are we going to come to our senses about food? It's all about moderation. If I want to have a really salty meal once in a while, it won't hurt me. I don't want the government stopping me. People who eat like that every day already know that what they're eating is wrong. They don't need to be told again or have a rule to force them.
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Old 01-12-10, 05:04 PM
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Re: Salt

The problem is that gradually over time, foods have gotten saltier and saltier and our taste-buds are adapting.

The government simply wants to reverse that trend, growing us accustom to less salty foods over time and making us all healthier, with a simple matter of nearly harmless legislation.

In fact, the changes would be so gradual, you probably wouldn't even taste the Pelosi.
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Old 01-12-10, 05:41 PM
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Re: Salt

Not my anchovies!
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Old 01-12-10, 05:51 PM
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Re: Salt

So now I'm supposed to stockpile guns, ammo, incandescent bulbs, AND salt? I'm gonna need a bigger bunker.
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Old 01-13-10, 10:04 AM
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Re: Salt

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3367
The problem with the Western diet is not one of deficiency, but one of excess. We get too much of a good thing – too many calories, too much of the wrong kind of fat, and too much salt. As a result obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are growing health problems.

There also does not appear to be an easy solution – voluntary diets founded primarily on will power are notoriously ineffective in the long term. Add to that is the marketplace of misinformation that makes it challenging for the average person to even know where to apply their (largely ineffective) will power.

It can be argued that this is partly a failure, or an unintended consequence, of market forces. Food products that provide cheap calories and are tasty (sweet, fatty, or salty) sell well and provide market incentives to sell such products. Consumers then get spoiled by the cheap abundance of tempting foods, even to the point that our perspective on appropriate portion sizes have been super-sized.

It may be counter argued that there is a market for healthful foods, but it seems that this creates the incentive to claim that food is healthful with marketing gimmicks rather than to make food for which there is good scientific evidence that they improve health.

And so the public is faced with claims that products are “all natural” when this term is not regulated and there is no evidence to support this notion that “natural” by any definition is necessarily healthful. Low fat foods are made palatable by adding sugars, and low sugar foods are kept tasty by adding fat.

All of this has led to the conclusion that systemic fixes are necessary to address what is becoming and increasing public health problem of diet-related diseases. The first round of regulations dealt with transparency – providing the consumer with accurate and complete information on food labels so that they can make informed choices. If we gauge success by public health outcomes, this strategy has not succeeded.

So governments, who are also increasingly conscious of the cost of health care, are experimenting with other options. New York City has famously declared War on Fat and has passed laws to limit the use of trans fat. Now the Big Apple has added salt to their 10 most wanted list.

According to the New York City Department of Health:

The New York City Health Department is coordinating a nationwide effort to prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods. Americans consume roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day – causing widespread high blood pressure and placing millions at risk of heart attack and stroke. This is not a matter of choice. Only 11% of the sodium in our diets comes from our own saltshakers; nearly 80% is added to foods before they are sold.

How do these claims hold up to the evidence. I found a reference that states that over 75% of salt intake is from processes food and restaurants – which is close to the 80% figure quoted above.

Do Americans really get twice the recommended salt intake? Here is a comprehensive review of salt intake around the world, suggesting that Americans get close to three times the daily recommended about (which is about 65 mmol/day or 1.5 grams – Americans get about 165 mmol per day).

What about the core claim – that salt intake causes increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke? Well, this is a trickier question – as are all epidemiological questions. My review of reviews suggests that there is a growing consensus that increased salt intake does correlate with an increased risk of vascular disease. However, increased salt intake also correlates with obesity, which may be at least partly responsible for this increase.

The more important question, however, is this – does reducing salt intake reduce high blood pressure and/or the risk of vascular disease? Here the answer seems to be a qualified yes. Salt reduction reduces blood pressure, but only a little. However, most of these studies are short term. Longer term studies are still needed. Some reviews claims that salt reduction – with or without a reduction in blood pressure, in hypertensive and normotensive people – reduces cardiovascular risk. Meanwhile, other reviews claim the evidence is inconclusive on long term effects.

Conclusion

As usual, the medical and regulatory communities are tasked with making sense out of chaos – with implementing bottom-line recommendations in the face of inconclusive evidence. While there remains legitimate dissent on the role of salt in vascular health, the current consensus is something like this:

- Most of the world, including Americans and those in industrialized nations, consume more salt than appears to be necessary.

- In the US most of that salt comes from processed or restaurant food (while in other countries, like Japan, most salt intake is added while cooking).

- There is a plausible connection between excess salt intake, hypertension, strokes and heart attacks.

- There is evidence to suggest that reducing overall salt intake will reduce the incidence of these health problems, but the evidence is not yet conclusive and longer term and sub-population data is needed.

Given all this it seems reasonable (from a scientific point of view – and ignoring the role of political ideology) to take steps to reduce the amount of salt in processed and restaurant food, while continuing to study the impact of such measures. But we also have to consider unintended consequences. Part of the reason salt is added to processed food is because it helps preserve it – give it a longer shelf life. People also develop a taste for salty food, and a sudden decrease in salt content may be unsatisfying, leading people to seek out higher salt foods. But these are technical problems that can be addressed.

It should also be noted that salt requirements and tolerance may vary considerably from individual to individual – based upon genetics, and certainly underlying diseases. Therefore recommendations from one’s doctor should supercede any general recommendations for the population.

In any case it seems that the War on Salt has begun. I only hope this is a war we choose to fight with science.
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Old 01-13-10, 05:17 PM
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Re: Salt

Originally Posted by Michael Bloomgerg
Modern medicine thinks you shouldn't be eating salt

Try that for 6 months, Mayor Moron, and tell me how it worked out for you.
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Old 01-13-10, 05:28 PM
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Re: Salt

The government should wipe my ass after I poop.
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Old 01-13-10, 06:21 PM
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Re: Salt

I had no problem with the trans fat ban because it's an artificial substance.

That said, this salt thing is fucking ridiculous. Great job electing Bloomberg again, guys.
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Old 01-13-10, 06:48 PM
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Re: Salt

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/health/14obese.html

Americans, at least as a group, may have reached their peak of obesity, according to data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday.....
We aren't getting fatter, but probably because we can't.

Still good news that the peak appears tohave been reached. Now if unemployment would just follow suit.
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Old 01-13-10, 06:52 PM
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Re: Salt

I'm just waiting for them to require all table salt shakers to be filled only 3/4 full.
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Old 01-13-10, 08:03 PM
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Re: Salt

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
Great job electing Bloomberg again, guys.
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Old 04-20-10, 11:56 AM
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Re: Salt

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews

FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.

"This is a 10-year program," one source said. "This is not rolling off a log. We're talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people."

The FDA, which regulates most processed foods, would be joined in the effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees meat and poultry.

Is Thor psychic?
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Old 04-20-10, 11:58 AM
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Re: Salt

Thor is not psychic. It was a very educated guess based on our continuing movement toward the Nanny State.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:21 PM
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Re: Salt

Too bad Morton isn't a publicly traded company, or at least they don't seem to be, table salt sales are going to go through the roof (until that becomes a controlled substance ).
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Old 04-20-10, 12:22 PM
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Re: Salt

I'm fine with the nanny state, because only rich people have nannies, so therefore, we will all be rich.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:34 PM
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Re: Salt

Originally Posted by Thor Simpson View Post
I'm just waiting for them to require all table salt shakers to be filled only 3/4 full.
Originally Posted by nemein View Post
Too bad Morton isn't a publicly traded company, or at least they don't seem to be, table salt sales are going to go through the roof (until that becomes a controlled substance ).
Bump in 4 months when Thor is right again.
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Old 04-20-10, 01:12 PM
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Re: Salt

I don't support these kinds of intrusive regulations, but I do support the new FDA initiative to have prominent, front package nutritional labels. I'm sure it will be screwed up, but if done well it could promote a market based solution to this issue.
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Old 04-20-10, 03:35 PM
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Re: Salt

I think we should follow Doctor Bloomberg's advice. It seems very fact-based and reasonable.
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Old 04-21-10, 12:55 AM
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Re: Salt

There was a guy on the news tonight from the Salt Institute. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) If we use too much salt in the USA, then how come we live longer than places that don't use as much salt? I can't believe he said it with a straight face. Stoic, this guy.
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