Not content knowing that some people continue to occasionally enjoy a meal, the self-described “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched their latest attack yesterday — this time on salt. So CSPI has reaffirmed salt’s place on its long list of nutritional no-nos, which includes milk, salad, and seafood. If you listen to CSPI — why you would, we don’t know — that shaker on your dinner table might as well contain rat poison or cyanide. But considering the mixed scientific evidence, as well as CSPI’s draconian solutions, you should take their latest attack with one gigantic grain of — well, you know what.
According to CSPI, salt is a “silent killer” that takes the lives of 150,000 Americans a year. That number comes from a four-page commentary written by
a member of CSPI’s own advisory board
— hardly an unbiased source. And this commentary provides no explanation for how the death total is calculated.
Many rigorous scientific investigations have found little or no link between salt and mortality. A meta-study published in the prestigious British Medical Journal summarized the findings of a number of studies on the subject and found: “It is unclear what effects a low sodium diet has on cardiovascular events and mortality.” Another study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension concluded:
[F]ew data link sodium intake to health outcomes, and that which is available is inconsistent. Without knowledge of the sum of the multiple effects of reduced sodium diet, no single universal prescription for sodium intake can be scientifically justified.
Despite largely inconclusive evidence on salt’s health impact, CSPI didn’t pull any punches when it comes to trying to forcibly cut its unfavored ingredient out of our diets. CSPI’s plan includes extra taxes on salty foods, warning labels on salt canisters, and government regulations on how much salt certain foods may contain. The group also wants another bureaucracy — “a new FDA Division of Salt Reduction.”
And CSPI’s not done there. As with their campaign against Acrylamide in French fries and potato chips, they suggest that once companies reformulate their products to meet new government-imposed guidelines, “the limits could be reduced to the new median (or other lower) value.” Like a game of limbo, CSPI’s proposed regulatory salt standards only get lower once companies meet them. And that means our food would never be the same again.