Healthy Living: Government Control of Salt Intake Part 1

by CJFosdick on February 17, 2010

Our various governments from State to Federal, are hell-bent on controlling as many aspects of our lives as they can by passing law after law after law. Among other things, individual food selection is especially vulnerable in today’s world. The food police, fat police, fast-food police, chocolate police, condiment police, you name it, all are gaining ground day by day hoping to force Americans to eat healthy. One of the latest police force to raise its ugly head is the salt police. Laws are being contemplated, as I write, to force people who can and freeze food, and restaurant and fast-food eateries cut the amount of salt Americans eat by 27% in about five years. They, of course, know what’s best for everyone.  There is an occasional person who needs more salt.

When I was young, my dad often teased us by saying that he would send us to the salt mines in Siberia as a punishment. In actuality, a person sent to the salt mines in Siberia endured one of the worst punishments a person had to suffer.

Salt is often called the staff of life. It is a necessary part of healthy living. Humans need a certain amount of salt to live. Salt is made from a natural ingredient, sodium. Sodium is available from two main sources, sea water and rock salt. Rock salt occurs in vast beds of sedimentary evaporative minerals. Beds of salt may be up to 350 meters thick. Salt is extracted from underground beds either by mining or by solution mining using water or brine. Sea water salt is obtained by the evaporation of sea or other salt water sources, such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Today, salt is almost universally available, relatively cheap, and often iodized, another substance needed for good health. The problem we have today is that, because salt is so easily available and cheap, we tend to eat far more of it than is healthy for us. It is recommended that in a 2000 calorie diet, a person eat less than 2400mg of salt a day. Too much salt consistently can cause high blood pressure with resultant heart problems. I’m not saying necessarily that high salt content is going to give you a heart attack, but as we age, our chance of getting a heart disease also goes up. Approximately 81,000,000 Americans have cardiovascular disease. Of these, 73,600,000 have high blood pressure. Cardiovascular mortality claimed 831,272 lives (final mortality) or made up 34.3 percent of all deaths in 2006.* If you are at risk, you need to check with your doctor, and let him or her decide what your daily salt intake should be, and then for goodness sakes, follow his/her medical advice.

With too much salt consistently added to products and food that we buy, it is extremely hard to limit salt intake. Salt makes things taste good. If you have ever bought a can of, say, salt-free green beans, they taste terrible, in fact inedible, in my opinion. With this said, however, the people who make and process our “store-boughten” food could easily cut down the salt they add by a third to a half, and food would be healthier, and yet, still taste good.

This does NOT mean that we should allow government intervention be the police-dogs of our salt intake. If products aren’t salty enough for our taste, we WILL ADD WHAT WE WANT WITH THE SALT SHAKER. Nothing as been solved.

What we need is more education on the dangers of too much salt. In fact, education has already cut down deaths from cardiovascular disease by 12.9% from 1996 to 2006.* Education can work. Consumers need to convince food manufacturers to add less salt and we can do this with our pocketbooks and protests. Simply do not buy products too high in salt, and then let these manufacturers know why. WE DON’T NEED OUR GOVERNMENT TO PASS LAWS TO FORCE FOOD PLACES TO CUT DOWN ON THE SALT. We get too dependent on the government to do everything for us. Take some initiative, folks. But do take the problem of too much salt intake cut your life short and limit the enjoyment you get from healthy living.

*For more statistics on heart problems refer to: Cardiovascular Disease Statistics, www.americanheart.org

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Laura April 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

Your blog doesn’t even begin to touch on many aspects of the governments decision here. It’s ridiculous how much salt is going into our bodies. If you actually started paying attention to what you were eating, you would realize that it is a HUGE problem, and it’s important to cut back the amount of salt that the majority of americans take in.
I have been buying salt-free products for years now, and I’m a healthy 27yo with a med degree on the way. Yes, sodium is needed, but not how we are getting it! There is salt in EVERYTHING! With the preservation abilities we have, it can no longer be a valid excuse. It’s used to make cheap food that we shouldn’t be eating in the first place tasty. Period. This is one of the few things I agree with the government on…we’ll all be a lot healthier! I could go on about organics, but it’s the wrong audience.
Enjoy your salt.

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