The Science is Settled
You hear that a lot when the other side talks about tobacco. But is it really? Remember when ulcers were thought to be caused by spicy food and instead were the result of bacteria that simple antibiotics could cure? Well the same is apparently true about salt and diets. Remember that when Bloomberg was the nanny, er mayor, of NYC, not only did he wage war on tobacco but also on salt. He got his health department to cut the amount of salt in foods in the city. They pushed for a 25% reduction. Salt is terrible for you, they said.
“We are trying to extend lives and improve the lives of people who live in this city,” Bloomberg said in a press conference in New York today. Life expectancy in the city has lengthened by 15 months over his eight-year tenure, the mayor said.
The city modeled its salt-reduction plan on England, which “has been very successful in getting packaged-good manufacturers to slowly reduce content,” Bloomberg said.
The science is settled—the American Heart Association, another nanny, still says that is the case. Not so fast. A study this month said if you cut out too much salt you could be hurting your health.
Current guidelines from U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association and other groups set daily dietary sodium targets between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams or lower, well below the average U.S. daily consumption of about 3,400 milligrams.
The new study, which tracked more than 100,000 people from 17 countries over an average of more than three years, found that those who consumed fewer than 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day had a 27% higher risk of death or a serious event such as a heart attack or stroke in that period than those whose intake was estimated at 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams. Risk of death or other major events increased with intake above 6,000 milligrams.
Of course the nannies derided the study.
The new report has shortcomings, and as an observational study it found only an association, not a causative effect, between very low sodium and cardiovascular risk. Still, it spurred calls to reconsider the targets.
Wait, aren’t damn near all of the studies on tobacco, second hand and third hand smoke these types of studies? Yeah well when the “science” isn’t to your liking, challenge the study but when it is, well it is gospel.