Salt as a Litmus Test

There is talk afoot of the FDA regulating how much salt food manufacturers can use. It occurs to me this is a perfect litmus test on a person’s political beliefs. Supporting or opposing this bill would tell you a lot about a person’s politics.

Now, I’m not asking whether eating less salt is a good idea. It seems pretty clear that most Americans get way too much salt in their diet. But, should the government force you to curb that amount?

Wrong question. Should Americans not have greater choice than ‘too much’,’ way too much’ or ‘way, way too much’ sodium in products on grocery shelves? Doesn’t the government already regulate/ban harmful or toxic substances in food products? Too much salt IS toxic.

This is hardly the same as forcing you to eat your vegetables.

Yep, my suspicions have been confirmed.

Hmm . . . I don’t think the government should be able to force companies to use less salt in their products, but I think there’s probably a case for the government requiring companies to use some sort of warning label for foods very high in salt (say . . . on foods where one serving = >50-60% of healthy daily intake). Not unlike the warnings already present on cigarettes and alcohol. Whether or not consumers would read it or care (i.e. whether it would actually help) is another story, of course.

I voted I don’t care because, unless tehy come and take our salt shakers away, we still retain ultimate control no matter what they do at the factories.


Says who? And dont’ bother answering. I’ll eat all the salt I like, thank you.
Its cheap, it has no calories, it tastes good, it doesn’t affect my ability to drive, it doesn’t harm anyone but myself if that…and by the way, my blood pressure is fine.

In the real world, the vast majority of processed (and even semi-processed) foods have high salt content. So it’s not simply a question of a need for warning labels. Since eating isn’t optional, access to food choices with healthy salt content is essential to keeping healthy - unless of course one has the time to churn one’s own butter, cure one’s own breakfast meats, make lunch soup from scratch everyday. Then again, pasteurization was once optional too - until the government forced milk producers to reduce the spread of milk-borne diseases…

The only point of increasing knowledge is that life be enriched as a result. Ignorance may be bliss, but there has to be another word for willful promotion of practices found to be detrimental to human well-being.

Eating highly processed foods** is **optional. There are low sodium choices available. The market for these items caused manufactures to produce these items. You mentioned butter. You can buy unsalted butter. This isn’t the Old Soviet Union where we need a Central Committe to execute a Five Year Plan and determine what needs to be produced.

This proposal is absurd and extremely un-American.

A supply for vegan, lactose free, low fat, and organic foods sprang up in response to demand- there’s already plenty of low sodium food. Had it been selling that well, perhaps it would be expanded. Apparently, we like our sodium. It’s not the government’s job to choose our lifestyles.

Thank you! This is exactly right!!!:thumbsup::thumbsup:

You have a point but I would object that 1) even if an infringement on consumers or manufacturers is minor, it is still and infringement and should not be tolerated, and 2) I think the idea of creeping socialism depends on this sort of incremental approach to expansion of government.

No, I agree. I’m not in favor of the salt ban either. I was just saying that I’m not disputing it from a scientific standpoint. It seems clear from all the evidence I have heard that the average American (but not necessarily you personally) consumes too much salt and that our health would improve if we cut back. But that still doesn’t justify this sort of government intrusion.

Exactly right.

Exactly how I feel. There are already nutrition labels on processed foods. The sodium content is clearly listed. It is up to the consumer to be aware of what they are purchasing and consuming. If no one buys the salty stuff they will either change the formulation or the company will go out of business… supply and demand.

Personally, I feel the government should be more concerned with all the pesticides/herbicides they douse fresh foods in that don’t come with nutrition labels or warnings. I know organic foods are available, but sometimes they’re 2-3 times the cost.

Guess we use very different grocery stores or we disagree on the definition of high sodium. Unless you live like the Amish (not a bad lifestyle actually) the majority of present modern food choices are usually: ‘too much salt’ or ‘make your own at home’. I know because I read the labels on everything I buy…The market can only correct high sodium content of foods if there are enough healthy alternatives, which at present, there are not (in the average grocery store).

I agree that government has no right to tell an individual how to eat, but they do have a right to promote the public good and that, in my mind, includes making sure the food being sold to the public meets basic standards of wholesomeness, which are constantly changing as our knowledge and health risks change. Once food manufacturers are held to good nutrition standards, I’m personally free to eat whatever junk I want and account to God for it later…

Funny thing while the Amish diet has less salt than ours, the number one cause of death with Amish men is hypertension.

No, if there were more demand for low sodium food there would be more low sodium food.

But that is besides the point. This is really governmental paternalism. You assume that those in power know whats best for hoi polloi and the government has the right to force you to do what they think best. That is not a just function of government.

I assume nothing. I just happen to value life and health greatly and to place great stock in the scientific process and rationally presented data rather than in knee-jerk reactions to the powers that be". The real power lies in seeking knowledge and applying it practically to the conundrums of life…

Data please…

Incidentally, hypertension is not the only condition aggravated by a diet high in salt, neither is salt the only culprit in hypertension (genes, weight, lifestyle, diet and more also contribute). Of course this is the type of discussion that really should precede (rather than follow) forming an opinion on whether gov’t does or does not have a role in telling food producers how much salt should be in their products…

In my lifetime, it appears that standards of wholesomeness changes more in response to fads than anything science. I do not trust changing standards. I guess I can agree with you, if you would use my definition of “basic.”

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