corkscrew-bottle-neck / toasto.com
The New York Times Upshot column is running a good series looking at the research from some of the hottest health topics. Here’s what they’re saying:
- Do have a glass of wine or so, particularly red. It’s probably good for cardiovascular health.
- Modest amounts of salt aren’t an issue, between 3 and 6 grams a day. However, there is still disagreement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration favors 2.3 grams a day. The World Health Organization says 2.0. The American Heart Association says 1.5 grams. My own bias has two points. No. 1, Don’t get confused between grams and milligrams, though. It takes 1,000 mg to equal a gram. So that serving of lasagna at Olive Garden is 2,360 mg alone and therefore likely to put you over any of these standards for the day. No. 2, don’t assume it won’t get worse; there is other research to show that salt makes you crave more salt, which puts you over any wise limit.
- Artificial sweeteners are not so bad.
- And no…you do not have to drink 8 glasses of water a day, which should make the folks at Weight Watchers, who preach this religiously, nervous.
The New York Times recently had a piece questioning the idea that salt leads to increased blood pressure, hypertension and the risk of premature death.
The piece is by Gary Taubes, a science writer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is the author of the book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to do About It.” Taubes says the evidence that high sodium intake causes problems is weak. Instead, he suggests, the reverse may be true. I haven’t read the book, though I did order it for closer inspection.
But the NYT piece does not, address or dispute the research cited by another author, former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler in his book, “The End of Overeating.” That research shows that salty foods make us crave more salty foods, contributing to our overeating. It’s why, as they used to say, “You can’t eat just one.”
That addictive property is one reason why I won’t take this as a license to go hog wild on salt. Another is that it’s in so much food, that it’s hard to imagine anyone really being salt-starved today. Finally, there is this: I feel bloated, fat, and just plainly not good when I’ve demolished that basket of tortilla chips.
The Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to curb American’s unhealthy consumption of salt landed it in Fox News’ crosshairs, according to a media watchdog group.
Sad to say, one of the Fox News folks taking aim at the FDA was “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, a friend in The Restaurant Dieter’s days in Wichita, Kan.
Steve, it’s been 25 years, but what happened? Is this really you?
According to the liberal media watchdog group, Media Matters
, Doocy said “the food police are rearing their head.” Co-host Gretchen Carlson complained that “you can’t eat salt in your own home, potentially.” Doocy apparently even said that “the science is not settled” on the role excessive salt plays in health.
Come on guys. There is a boatload of research that says too much salt isn’t good for you. Much of is hidden in prepared foods and in restaurant foods, where the person doing the eating can’t easily fight back. It makes sense for the FDA to assist in a public health crisis.
That line about the science not being settled was used most effectively by the tobacco industry in the early days of non-smoking campaigns. Look where that got people.
If there’s a war involving salt, it’s on us and salt is winning.
Shhhh. Apparently the restaurant industry is reducing salt.
Why that should be something to keep on the DL is aptly covered in a Chicago Tribune piece. Campbell’s Soup’s sales declines in recent years have been attributed to its public stance on salt reduction. (Of course, it could also be that there are lots of great new competitors out there with excellent soups.)
The Trib says the restaurants are doing it because they don’t want to get caught by anticipated federal rules requiring nutritional information to be posted on the menu.
Whatever the notion, let’s cheer. Given the addictive qualities of highly-salted food, we don’t need a burger that swallows an entire day’s recommended sodium intake.