Looks like we’ll have to take those warnings about sodium in our diet from First Lady Michelle Obama, bureaucrats, and assorted food police with, well, a grain of salt.
The latest research indicates that most folks can stay healthy without cutting back on how much sodium they consume, Rebecca Voelker writes at news@JAMA, documenting the work of researchers in Denmark and the U.S. She sums up:
Their findings showed that people whose sodium intake is between 2,645 and 4,945 [milligrams per day]—90 percent of the world’s population consumes sodium amounts within that range—had the lowest mortality and cardiovascular disease risks. The investigators found no difference in health outcomes between the lowest and highest intake levels of that range.
Salt has been a prime target as Michelle Obama made healthier diets—especially for the nation’s children—a centerpiece of her anti-obesity “Let’s Move” campaign, covered by news media on the Left and Right going back five years. In late February, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined the first lady as she introduced “school wellness standards” to press her fight against junk food in schools.
Such activism by agencies from the Department of Agriculture to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its skeptics.
“Our understanding of health and nutrition is constantly changing,” Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Foundry. “This reality hasn’t stopped the federal government from becoming more arrogant in assuming it knows what’s healthy and thinking the public is too ignorant to make dietary choices on their own. We see this arrogance when it comes to menu-labeling mandates and the FDA’s attempt to effectively ban artificial trans fat.”
Bakst, who writes about government regulation of food and nutrition, added:
This is the same federal government that didn’t even distinguish between good and bad fats in the 1992 food pyramid, and encouraged the consumption of carbohydrates. The FDA’s unprecedented action on trans fat could very well be the start of an aggressive regulatory campaign on ingredients such as sodium, sugar, and caffeine.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.