Salt – it’s the new trans fat, only worse.
“Salt trumps fat,” Michael Jacobson of the left-wing Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said on the November 28 “CBS Evening News.”
“There are also warnings tonight about another potential health risk. This one’s in your diet and it’s not fat, it’s salt,” said anchor Katie Couric on the November 28 broadcast. “It’s estimated that the average American consumes 4,000 milligrams of salt every day. That’s nearly twice the maximum recommended daily allowance.”
But it’s not the personal responsibility angle they’re pushing – suggesting sodium intake should be monitored by the individual. It’s heavy-handed government regulation.
This CBS report on salt came the night before a Food and Drug Administration’s November 29 public hearing to decide whether salt should be regulated as a food additive and to discuss whether to revoke salt’s “Generally Recognized as Safe” status.
However, not enough salt is just as bad as too much salt, according to one expert, whose stance is supported by the Salt Institute – salt’s trade organization and a voice not included in the “Evening News” report.
Sandy Szwarc, a registered nurse and culinary expert with a degree in biological science, wrote on her J unk Food Science blog that the media are omitting the possible ramifications of salt restrictions in their coverage.
“If there is no support that salt reduction among the general population, versus people with specific medical issues, will save lives and help ensure that everyone will enjoy longer, healthier lives; any evidence that such reductions might harm vast numbers of the population becomes even more critical to consider,” Szwarc wrote. “Yet, the possible adverse effects of salt reductions aren’t mentioned by CSPI and rarely in the media.”
She also wrote that some research showed low-salt diets “can have negative effects: activating the rennin-angiotensin system and the sympathetic nervous system, increasing insulin resistance and hypodehydration (especially with the elderly). This, they concluded, could lead to increased risks for cardiovascular disease.”
Instead of including that perspective, CBS Consumer Safety Correspondent Nancy Cordes compared salt content in food in the United States to food in the United Kingdom – where the government has taken a proactive role in lowering the public’s salt consumption.
“American companies have already been pushed to reduce salt contents overseas,” Cordes said. “This box of Kellogg's (NYSE:K) Special K has 60 percent more MCD) Chicken McNuggets contain twice as much sodium in the U.S. as they do in the U.K.”