January 8 2012
Some interesting new commentary on the FDA's war on salt is coming from a pretty good authority on food and health. Medical doctor and professional chef Michael S. Fenster writes in The Atlantic that the FDA's proposed regulations on salt won't only make food taste worse, it won't do a thing to improve Americans' cardiovascular health. And he cites a pretty impressive new study showing just that:
A study published in 2011 by Dr. Jan Staessen followed about 3,700 patients for eight years and divided them into tertiles of low, medium, and high sodium intake. The highest death rate was in the group with the lowest sodium intake; the lowest death rate was in the group with the highest sodium intake. An even larger study was done by Dr. Salim Yusef and his group out of McMaster University in Canada and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011. Over 30,000 people were studied for about four years. They examined low sodium intake (less than 2.3 grams), moderate intake (2.3 to seven grams), and high intake (more than seven grams) and found at the extremely high levels there was an increased risk of cardiovascular events. However, they also found that at the low level of sodium intake there was an increased risk of cardiovascular death and increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure. The low sodium intake group also had a 2.5 percent increase in their cholesterol and a seven percent increase in their triglyceride levels. The moderate sodium intake group (consuming between 2.3 and seven grams of sodium per day -- well within the daily consumption of the average American) had the lowest risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Despite this (and many other studies), the FDA appears not to be backing down off its attacks on salt. Nor do the food nannies who manage to ignore these latest studies.