Do you support the salt police?

Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended the FDA set maximum sodium levels for a variety of foods. The IOM says people need just 1,500 mg a day for good health, less if they’re over 50. Yet the average adult American consumes more than 3,400 mg daily.

salt-shaker-blog

While some may balk at more government intervention into their daily lives, proponents say the intentions of any government regulations would be to improve the health of citizens. The American Medical Association has said 150,000 lives a year could be saved by cutting sodium levels in half in processed and restaurant food. Take a look at some of the nutritional changes America’s favorite foods are undergoing to make them healthier.

Some corporations have already jumped on board to lower the sodium levels in their food products. ConAgra Foods Inc. says consumers will see a 20 percent reduction of sodium in its food lines by 2015. The IOM would rather see mandatory reductions in sodium levels, because they feel that voluntary cooperation with lowering sodium intake, whether it be by companies or consumers is not effective.

Do you think the government should regulate the sodium intake in food products or is that something companies and consumers should decide for themselves? Are you worried about the health consequences of too much sodium in your own diet?

161 comments Add your comment

Carl Stine

April 20th, 2010
7:07 pm

There is not a salt shaker in my house but it is none of the federal goverments buisness what anyone eats. Cut off the funds to these idiots and save a lot money. This is one thing tax dollare should not even get close to.

Gail

April 20th, 2010
8:30 pm

If the government wants to do something to truly help the health of our country,then they need to ban cigarettes. But they’re not ABOUT to do that, because we’ve got too many politicians who are in the tobaco industry’s back pocket.

The government needs to stay out of my business. If my blood pressure starts to rise, then I’ll get rid of my salt. But until then, they can kiss my patootie.

Chad

April 20th, 2010
8:39 pm

I totally support the efforts as part of the Health Care Reform Act to require restaurants to disclose their nutritional information. I think making sure consumers have information to make a good decision is great. Regulating how much of an ingredient a restaurant or food manufacturer can put into a particular food is very different, though. I say make sure people have the information on what they’re eating, but let them choose what goes into their body and what doesn’t.

http://www.reconstructingthirty.com

Steve

April 20th, 2010
8:50 pm

100% behind this. This should have been done over a decade ago.

Now, if they will just take the salt shakers off every table in the US then it will get even better. At the very least I won’t have to worry about the addicts that want to add MORE salt to tortilla chips without asking eveyrone else at the table. Maybe I should start pouring ketchup over the chips without asking them and see if they like it.

There is a big difference betweening being able to police the salt restrictions and being able to ban cigs by the way. Cigs will just go underground and become like alcohol in the past, or other drugs now. That would be costly to police, and very costly in human lives when it becomes a black market issue. A cheaper idea would probably be to hit every person caught smoking with a stay in jail until they pay off a fine. It would fund our roads, schools, police and fire forces for decades.

[...] week advisors to the FDA recommended that they regulate salt in our diets. You’d think the government would have better things to do than to tell us fatties what to eat. [...]

Johns Creek Resident

April 20th, 2010
9:51 pm

Sure, why not? If I have to pay for some else’s health care, I will support the salt police, the soda police, the fast food police, the obesity police, the anti-smoking police, the seat belt police and all the other “big brothers” that will make sure your “bad habits” don’t cost me money to pay for your health care.

Lindy

April 20th, 2010
9:52 pm

If they really want to do something to improve people’s health, get rid of all the pharmaceutical drugs that people are snarfing down like candy and get the FDA out of bed with the drug companies. I’m sick of big gov worrying about my salt shaker while they turn a blind eye to the multi-billion dollar drug industry. If people are concerned about salt content, read the food labels and refuse to buy high salt food (if that’s what floats your boat). Personally, I want to keep big Daddy out of my pantry.

MrLiberty

April 20th, 2010
10:04 pm

John’s Creek Resident makes my point for me. This is exactly what happens when you allow the government to steal your money and take over control of medical care. Bloomberg too is using the excuse that NYC has to pay too much in medical care costs so they are going to ban added salt in all restaurants. I assume that his comments are tongue in cheek on the creep of totalitarianism under the guise of forced socialism, but this is the inevitable result.

Steve of course is just a totalitarian and obviously has little enough to worry about in his own life that now he wants to spend time worrying about everyone else’s. He of course fails to understand both economics and human nature but certainly has little respect for freedom, liberty, or anything else that used to be valued in this country. Why he is not living in China or other such repressive regime is a mystery. Maybe he gets off on watching people’s rights be violated and a society that has been lacking in rights for so long just isn’t as amuzing.

If the government stopped subsidizing the food industry, stopped promoting the agenda’s of every food industry lobbyiest, etc. then real food might better be able to compete on price at the market and the natural trend might be away from these unhealty products. The free market and liberty are much better problem solvers than totalitarianism and resulting black markets.

Salt was once money it is so imporant to life itself. I guess as the dollar gets destroyed by the Federal Reserve, it is only natural that government go after gold, silver, salt, and anything else with more intrinsic value than a worthless piece of green printed paper.

Gator Actual

April 20th, 2010
10:35 pm

I agree with most everyone here. This is starting to get to be the “fad” of the month. This month salt, next month ice chewing, where does it stop? And has anyone ever noticed that the people who are telling you how to stay healthy are the 30-40 year old doctors and the people who live to be 100 smoke, drink and eat salt?

W

April 20th, 2010
10:42 pm

Lindy…the point is that people don’t read the labels. When “bid daddy” is kept out of your pantry it leads to a nation where a third of its citizens are either obese or morbidly obese, and more than half are overweight. People make terrible decisions about their health because they’re allowed to. Fat people should be taxed, or sent to a gulag and forced to perform manual labor until they shrink down to a suitable weight.

DT

April 20th, 2010
10:50 pm

I don’t think the government has any right telling what you can do with your body. If you want to screw your body up that should be your business but you also need to take personel responsibility for your doctor bills. We have too many people in this country that thinks the government should control our lives from cradle to grave. That’s kind of like slavery isn’t it? Take responsibility for your own lives and not let someone else tell how to live your life.

Swearengen

April 20th, 2010
11:39 pm

I drink ice water all day and the doc said I need to consume more salt. Sure you can add salt with a shaker but as any chef will tell you, it’s not the same when it’s seasoned into the food in stages.

The FDA has no damn business telling anyone how much salt can be used. It’s the consumers decision.

Swearengen

April 20th, 2010
11:42 pm

Oh, blood tests show I have dangerously low sodium levels and that’s why my doctor said I need more salt.

BenFranklin

April 21st, 2010
12:18 am

YOU CAN TAKE OUR SALT, BUT YOU’LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM!!
Maybe the govt will start with the Kosher salt, since the regime seems to have beef with Israel. Then they can get the rock salt to combat climate change. Finally, they will ban the ocean, since it is salty, too. Don’t forget salt licks, since cow flatulence causes global warming!

stw

April 21st, 2010
4:21 am

What happens when the sex police feel you’ve had too much sex for a month? Do they take the offending organ away? That’s the epitome of gov’t intervention !!

G.L.

April 21st, 2010
7:38 am

I think it’s a good idea if they regulate the amount of salt in processed foods. Some people are forced to feed their families 4 for a $1 canned fruits and vegetables from the Value Mart due to their budget. And, if you read the label on canned foods, you’ll see that they are high in sodium. The gov’t isn’t going to take away your salt shakers, so you can season your foods as you want. However, it will help millions of people that don’t have a lot of dietary choices reduce their risk of hypertension and heart-related ailments.

lou

April 21st, 2010
7:40 am

I have an idea that has never been tried by any politician-ever. Leave us alone!

Jess

April 21st, 2010
7:56 am

I completely agree with you, G.L. Most are missing the point here, if they actually think Big Gov is going to take away their salt shakers. Hyperbole? Or just poor reading comprehension? My father had a stroke and can only have a tiny amount of salt, and we have the HARDEST time finding foods that aren’t completely over the top with their salt content. You want the poorer population to be healthier so you don’t have to pay for their healthcare? Then make the only food they can afford a little better for them. Geez, people sure are crabby about their sodium.

Morton

April 21st, 2010
7:59 am

I say a big “NO” to big brother. I am already personally aware of health issues and a health conscious person however education would be a nice touch. Spend a few dollars on advertising but stay the heck out of my personal business. Ultimately the decision should rest with me.

srw

April 21st, 2010
7:59 am

I would like government controls to diminish NOT increase. How about allowing us to live our lives without being told how. Golly, what a concept

Dan

April 21st, 2010
8:00 am

It is completely inane, and anyone having a hard time finding food with out salt is either full of it or an idiot, there are options everywhere! and I don’t want to hear about expensive “fresh food” go to the farmers market or by frozen which is just as cheap as canned. It is called LAZY when folks complain about it

lulu

April 21st, 2010
8:05 am

I agree, G.L. It is incredibly difficult to find low-sodium foods, and they are often considered “special diet” foods and are more expensive. And so often there is NO reason for these foods to be so heavily salted, especially vegetables. It’s sad when the healthy food is just as bad for you as the junk food … and everyone wonders why so many people are fat!

lulu

April 21st, 2010
8:07 am

Dan, I think you’re a little out of touch with the reality of food cost and availability. Just because those options are available to you does not mean they are available to everyone.

Micheal

April 21st, 2010
8:07 am

In a word…No. This is more big progressive government trying to tell me how to live my life for the greater good of society, or some form of social justice. The only thing I ask from my government is to keep me safe from foreign attacking enemies, and then to let me live my life, raise my kids, run my business, worship, travel, and pretty much anything under the sun — as I see fit and without government interference.

neal kelley

April 21st, 2010
8:07 am

Salt!!!!!! FIX THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thomas r carter

April 21st, 2010
8:16 am

Of course they should step in. Right now only a handful of profit makers taking the easy way out to make flavor in their product and who take no responsibility for the effects should not be left in control. Of salt is regulated then people’s appetite and intake of salt will drop. If the food processors still want to compete on flavor then maybe they will improve the quality of their products.

Jim

April 21st, 2010
8:24 am

Mark Twain once said, “Most people can’t read the handwriting on the wall until their backs are up against it.” People with bad habits such as eating the wrong foods, smoking, lack of exercise, et al, are not going to change just because the government legislates against poor behaviors. We should not waste not even one dime of taxpayer dollars on “salt” legislation regardless of the government’s good intentions. People who eat healthy do not need the aggravation; people who abuse salt will someday read the handwriting on the wall. The consequences of their poor choices might (small chance) incent them to influence the loved ones they leave behind. But government intervention – we might as well start a “cash for salt shakers” program.

Atlanta Native

April 21st, 2010
8:24 am

The numbers are on the boxes. What else is needed? If people are too ignorant to read them, fix the schools.

Moderate

April 21st, 2010
8:25 am

Methinks Steve woke up in the wrong country this morning. Sure, we need to eat less salt, less fat, fewer carbs. But it’s a personal choice. And as a country we’re making progress. We need less government intervention, not more.

RK

April 21st, 2010
8:29 am

Salt isn’t the problem — sodium in prepared foods is. Cook.

Tosh

April 21st, 2010
8:30 am

Salt is a huge issue in American diest. It leads to increased blood pressure, increased occirence of strokes and heart attacks; however the governments job is not to police the public on how much salt they should eat. The belts in Washington are tight from not only salt, and increased fat intake but from their wads of cash they are making off fat Americans with health problems. Its just another way to meddle in peoples lives. If they want to solve some eating habits lets start feeding our kids in public schools less processed foods and increase fresh produce and whole grains. Oh wait…that would cost too much money right? Better to try to change grown adults who can make their own decisions than set the standard early for our future leaders by teaching them how to eat healthy early on.

California Native

April 21st, 2010
8:39 am

I think that this is a very good idea. we really need to start eating right and this will definitely increase that chance……. all th people that are against this idea are probably FAT!!!!

BenFranklin

April 21st, 2010
8:42 am

It’s SALT!!!! So would the govt just regulate sodium chloride (table salt), or would they go after some other fun salts too, such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), calcium carbonate (chalk), or calcium chloride (road salt)? Next thing you know, the govt will try to regulate carbon dioxide and make us wear CO2 breathalyzers.
Fed govt (congress) should just function for 3 months out of the year like the GA assembly. Maybe that would keep them focused and out of my salt shaker.

Greensboro

April 21st, 2010
8:47 am

Salt? I workout almost every day and sweat like a fountain. I love salt. It is a natural cleansing agent and sweating is a great way to remove impurities from the body.

ron

April 21st, 2010
8:49 am

Salt is not the problem in America. It’s Washington D.C.

cruzinfree

April 21st, 2010
8:55 am

Limiting salt intake is just the beginning of the government controlling you. When the health care plan kicks in, your personal choice freedoms will be ripped away. Every part of your life will be dictated to by the federal government. American’s voted for change, here it is.

Bob

April 21st, 2010
8:57 am

Cali native, 48 and in great shape. Why is it the more we have forced on us as far as labeling of foods, the more fat people we have. Fast food outlets list calories and so do many others but when fatass kids play video games instead of playing outside and we pay people to sit around their homes through welfare, people get fat. This is another area that responsible people are being dictated to because of lazy slobs. The gov distributes and taxes tobacco and alcohol and turns a blind eye to the effects of those because of the revenue generated. If gov wants to take away bad things, lets start with the things that kill the fastest. I can go to dinner, drink booze and drive home possibly killing someone and liberals are whining about salt. How many hwy deaths are the result of someone consuming to much salt ? How about forcing gov aid recipients to eat well and take drug tests then weigh in every three months. Liberals say that poor people are only fat because eating healthy is expensive and that is bull. That is the group that has plenty of time to go for a walk.

GotGator

April 21st, 2010
9:00 am

X -> NaCl = BS

CPT

April 21st, 2010
9:06 am

Nobody is arguing that eating less salt is a bad idea. The disagreement is a fundamental difference in what people feel is the appropriate role of the federal government. Where do we stop when it comes to government regulating our lifestyle? If you don’t like the salt content in a can of food, then buy something else.

MarkH

April 21st, 2010
9:09 am

Salt is just too familiar. We would howl for fines, prison sentences, and FDA regulation if we caught a food processor adding a flavor enhancing chemical with an unpronounceable name to their products that would cause heart disease in a quarter of their consumers.

Kar

April 21st, 2010
9:16 am

I think that it’s neccessary unfortunately due to the wide-spread over application of salt in almost every food service/production area.

Basically it’s almost impossible to have a low sodium diet eating processed foods. The hidden sodium count invalidate even so called “health food” stores for healthy options.

For restaurants it’s especially hard because unlike grocery shopping, you don’t have the knowledge to make decisions. Frankly, I’ve also found high sodium to often be the result of lazy chefs and lazy palates.

Of course you still have the option to pour half a salt shaker on your food if you want, but it’s impossible to take it out if it’s already there. Just as you have the option not to eat meat, gluten or fatty foods. However, when you can’t even find frozen or canned veggies without a high sodium content, it’s indicative of the consumer not having much choice.

joe

April 21st, 2010
9:33 am

Absa-freakin-lutely. If you go to the web sites of restaurants who post their nutritional info, you’ll be floored by the amount of salt or sodium listed. The FDA says about 2300 mg’s per day is okay, but most restaurants have more than that in a lot of their meals. It doesn’t have as much to do with how much salt you shake on to your food at the table, it is mostly about how much is used in the preparation of the food. How else could a salad with chicken added have over 1000 mg’s?

Being a Libertarian, I’m for keeping the government out of everything, but I will make an exception in this case with the FDA because restaurants and chefs don’t seem to be able to make those cuts on their own…same with the food processing companies who make grocery items.

I’ve decided to cut all fast food out, not because of fat, but because of the high salt counts. Only one ‘fast food’ chain had decent numbers (low numbers) of salt use…Steak N Shake…go figure.

David S

April 21st, 2010
10:21 am

Joe, you are NO libertarian.

Consumers need to exercise their power of the purse, their direct feedback to owners and the like. There is absolutely NO role for government in this except to address fraud or force. If someone is claiming a certain amount of salt and is inaccurate, that is fraud. If there are no claims or they will not tell you and you are concerned, either demand an answer or don’t patronize the business.

Maybe you need to improve your education on what a libertarian actually believes before you claim to be one.

David S

April 21st, 2010
10:44 am

First lets review how the market is supposed to work. You do NOT have a right to any specific product or service. Producers of products and services have as their goal to meet your needs and obtain money in return for that exchange. To the extent that they can meet your needs, they win. When your needs are met, you win.

Virtually everyone on this blog acknowledges that packaged, processed, and restaurant food is too high in salt. So why are you buying any of it? There is an entire produce section of the market with outstanding fruits and vegetables in their native form the way god/mother nature made them. They have all the sodium, potassium, trace minerals, etc. that they need and you can add other stuff if you like when you prepare them (although eating them raw would be the best for you). If the consumption of processed, packaged, and restaurant food plummetted because everyone stopped buying it until the salt content was reduced, these businesses would get the message. Many companies currently offer reduced salt versions of their products. This was in response to customer demand.

Instead of being good consumers, you are good whiners. You demand that government violate the rights and freedoms of others because you are unwilling to sit down at your computer or desk and write a letter to the owners of the companies that don’t serve your needs. You won’t even give up your favorite restaurant or packaged food product in favor of a healthier alternative because it is easier to demand that the government force these businesses to change on YOUR behalf. How unbelievably selfish of you all.

By not exercising your rights and your responsibilities as consumers, you have allowed the government and even demanded that the government stick its nose into virtually every aspect of everything in all of our lives.

Ken Leebow

April 21st, 2010
10:47 am

A funny thing happens if you voluntarily reduce your salt intake. After a few weeks, you can taste the heavy dose of salt that is in processed food and at restaurants. Recently, I was at a national steak restaurant and found it difficult to eat the entree…it was loaded with salt.

So, you don’t need the government to assist with this. Just take it out of your diet for a few weeks and you won’t miss it.

By the way, that applies to sugar too.

Ken Leebow
http://www.FeedYourHeadDiet.com

John Yarbrough

April 21st, 2010
11:17 am

David S – yours is the most cogent and well written comment here today. Please add my name to your post.

cruzinfree

April 21st, 2010
11:48 am

Joe – You need to understand what a Libertarian is and what their government beliefs are. A true Libertarian ” you ain’t “.

Bob

April 21st, 2010
12:00 pm

Your body needs sodium to function. Cut back some, but never ban salt. Sodium and Potassium is important to our bodys, especially when it’s hot and you sweat.

wagnert in atlanta

April 21st, 2010
12:19 pm

This legislation is absolutely necessary. We are poisoning the raw material for Soylent Green.

pj

April 21st, 2010
12:28 pm

Yes. I haven’t used for anything for many years since starting on Blood Pressure meds. You lose your taste for it – it ruins food for me now. Also, a nurse told me you can carry up to 20 pounds of waterweight, so cutting out salt will most likely cause an immediate and permanent weight loss, which is better for your health anyway. All that pressure on your system is not good. I can tell that some people I know are just in the habit of “reaching for the salt shaker.” It’s good to be aware of it in chips, etc., and eat those things minimally too.