Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New York City's unscientific war on salt

Salt is New York City’s new public-health enemy - MarketWatch - Marie LaMagna:

December 2, 2015 - "Starting on Dec. 1, diners in New York City are seeing a new symbol on menus ... a salt shaker inside a black triangle — next to individual menu items that contain more than the total daily recommended limit of sodium, which is 2,300 milligrams, or about one teaspoon.

"The new labeling applies to restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide and was passed unanimously by the New York City Board of Health on Sept. 9. About 10% of menu items in these restaurants will require the salt-shaker labeling, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Restaurants that don’t comply with the new policy will start to be penalized starting March 1, 2016.

"Jim O’Hara, the director of health-promotion policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based nonprofit and consumer advocacy group, said he is hopeful the labeling will lead to a reduced-sodium diet for those purchasing food in New York. 'We’re encouraging health departments from Boston to San Francisco and everywhere in between to follow New York City’s lead, he said."

Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-york-city-targets-a-new-health-enemy-salt-2015-12-01
'via Blog this'

It's Time to End the War on Salt - Scientific American - Melinda Wenner Moyer:

July 8. 2011 - "For decades, policy makers have tried and failed to get Americans to eat less salt.... But if the U.S. does conquer salt, what will we gain?...

"[A] meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine — an excellent measure of prior consumption — the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you, but the evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous....

"Intersalt, a large study published in 1988, compared sodium intake with blood pressure in subjects from 52 international research centers and found no relationship between sodium intake and the prevalence of hypertension. In fact, the population that ate the most salt, about 14 grams a day, had a lower median blood pressure than the population that ate the least, about 7.2 grams a day. In 2004 the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, not-for-profit health care research organization funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a review of 11 salt-reduction trials....  The review concluded that 'intensive interventions, unsuited to primary care or population prevention programs, provide only minimal reductions in blood pressure during long-term trials.' A 2003 Cochrane review of 57 shorter-term trials similarly concluded that 'there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.'

"Studies that have explored the direct relationship between salt and heart disease have not fared much better. Among them, a 2006 American Journal of Medicine study compared the reported daily sodium intakes of 78 million Americans to their risk of dying from heart disease over the course of 14 years. It found that the more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease. And a 2007 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology followed 1,500 older people for five years and found no association between urinary sodium levels and the risk of coronary vascular disease or death. For every study that suggests that salt is unhealthy, another does not."

Read more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt/ 'via Blog this'

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