Rubbing Salt Into the Wound

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finagled a way around the city’s two-term limit on mayoral service, and is now running for a third term.

As if to rub it in, he’s attacking our use of salt.

Bloomberg has simply declared that the city is starting a “nationwide” effort to pressure the food industry to decrease salt use.

Which is more audacious, making New Yorkers’ salt shakers the city’s business, or foisting this intrusion onto the rest of the country?

This would have been a strawman example — a reductio ad absurdum — a generation ago. Back then, when some of us objected to, say, regulation of cigarettes, arguing that next government would be regulating the salt on our French Fries, earnest nanny-state proponents would sniff. No. They wouldn’t do anything that absurd.

Today, Thomas R. Friedman, Bloomberg’s man at the city health department, claims that if restaurants followed the New York City government prescription, they would in effect “lower health care costs and prevent 150,000 premature deaths every year.”

Is he right? John Tierney, writing in The New York Times, asserts that this “prediction is based on an estimate based on extrapolations based on assumptions that have yet to be demonstrated despite a half-century of efforts.”

Healthy or not, my salt intake is my business. And maybe my wife’s. Not New York City supreme ruler Michael Bloomberg’s.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

17 Comments so far ↓

  1. Apr
    16
    10:35
    AM
    Robb

    Bloomberg is an idiot…much as is Obama!!!!!

  2. Apr
    16
    10:44
    AM
    Mary Bodily

    Hum. It sounds like they would have to not allow a salt shaker in the restraunts. I know my hubby will salt, salted fries and nobody, even his worried wife will change that. New York is getting a bit carried away in their nannying
    the people.

  3. Apr
    16
    11:04
    AM
    Mr. Conservatiave

    Is the recommendation of low salt intake a hoax like global warming?

    Do low salt diets increase medical problems, including the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes?

    It seems there is not current interest to investigate further?

    http://www.nasw.org/awards/1999/99Taubesarticle1.htm

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/281/5379/898?ijkey=ATm56Jl8nBVYU

    “The (Political) Science of Salt”

    “Science … warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations.”
    — Thomas Huxley, 1860

  4. Apr
    16
    11:09
    AM
    Marcantonio

    Great article. This maniac is out of control. I am New Yorker from Long Island and know of what I speak.

    Blommy has ridden the coat tails of the great Mayor Rudy Giuliani for almost 8 years now. He is in no way a Republican and I am so happy he denounced his affiliation.

    He realized that the NRA would do all in its power to stop him if he ran for Pres. so he never got in the race. His disregard of The Will of the People by having Term Limits overturned is an example of the hunger for power he craves.

    I respect his business sense but have lost all respect for him as the Statesman I once hoped he would be.

  5. Apr
    16
    11:56
    AM
    Ex-Nuke

    People will get their salt fixes no matter what Sir Bloom does. Why not raise the sales tax on salt to make it too expensive for purchasing it for home and rest. use? Like Oregon and beer. Salt processers and shaker makers would go OOB. Whoops, more lost jobs.

  6. Apr
    16
    12:15
    PM
    voxoreason

    The problem with NOT using salt, if you use iodized salt: it’s the “iodized” part that your body requires and may be deficient in short of taking a supplement. Still, I taste first, then salt. After all, who wants to put a too much salt on a serving of anything?

    Another health tip: If you like hot (spicy hot) foods, this is VERY healthy. Put a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (HOT!) into about 8 oz of V8 Juice and it will clean out your arteries. Jalapeños and hot Indian dishes work the same way.

    If this is too hot, have a couple of crackers to chew on BEFORE drinking a pitcher of water. This will absorb the excess cayenne from your tongue, then a glass of water will wash it on down.

    You will develop a tolerance for this if you do it about once or twice a month, plus you’ll have clean arteries. Or you can buy hundreds of dollars worth of prescription drugs (with God knows what dangers accompany them) and gamble with your health.

    Eat meat rare. Vegetarians die younger than meat-eaters… presumably of good health! I think I’d rather wait and die of old age or a tangible disease. (Cooking meat well-done removes the healthy ingredients, much like pasteurization of milk does, so milk is “fortified” with the Vitamin D that is removed in the pasteurization process.)

  7. Apr
    16
    12:24
    PM
    s. ridgway

    The dose makes the poison. East Indians needed salt, and had to go to their coast to get it. The British were limiting it and taxing it. Mahatma Ghandi led a non violent protest march to the sea, and English police powers were challenged. It is believed today that if you sweat too much without salt supply you are in trouble, and if you take in too much you might have high blood pressure problems.

  8. Apr
    16
    4:17
    PM
    Hank

    Ridgway

    What do you mean, “it is believed today?” When I was in the Army in the early forties, we were issued salt tablets to prevent problems from lack of salt in our system. Salt was currency in Rome, due to its rarity and value as a dietary aid. You make it sound as if you just discovered the benefits of salt. Are you a graduate of our vaunted “educational” system?

  9. Apr
    16
    4:53
    PM
    cassey

    ONE A HOLE

  10. Apr
    16
    5:34
    PM
    Dr. T

    The recommendations for a low-salt diet are based on mediocre epidemiology studies of the 1960s and 1970s that implicated sodium as a major cause of high blood pressure. As usual, correlation got turned into causation. A high salt diet is only a problem for some people with high blood pressure. It isn’t a problem for the general population. In fact, a small percentage of people with high blood pressure do better with a high salt diet. (High blood pressure has many causes.)

    Other people need high salt diets: those who live in warm climes and spend time outdoors, athletes who sweat heavily, and people who take lithium.

    Dieticians keep shooting themselves in their feet. Instead of advocating customized diets based on individual metabolisms, environments, and behaviors (which would increase the need for dieticians), they generate one-diet-for-all recommendations and nag us for not complying. This is like doctors examining a few thousand patients and then writing prescriptions for everyone. It defies common sense.

  11. Apr
    16
    7:35
    PM
    Steve Buckstein

    The Mayor might try to realize his lofty goal by ordering that salt shakers
    have fewer holes. Sound crazy? It’s being tried in England. See my blog post:

    The fallacy of good intentions

    Steve Buckstein
    Cascade Policy Institute

  12. Apr
    17
    7:29
    AM
    Lyle R. Rolfe

    Now would be an excellent time to start selling salt shakers outside New York restaurants. Of course the mayor would then make this illegal. I guess the only solution is to hope the New York voters who elected him to a third term will remember this when he runs for a fourth term.

  13. Apr
    17
    9:20
    AM
    Tim

    I watched the History Channel Yesterday and the comment was made that Americans get 85% of their salt from sodium added to our processed foods and 15 percent from our own addition of salt to our food preparation. Why doesn’t BIG BROTHER go after the government created persons called corporate food processors and stay out of our personal preferences.

  14. Apr
    17
    9:36
    AM
    pat

    The human body requires salt. Next, let’s get rid of beef and pork, shall we? Let’s all go vegan. Bloomberg is worse than an idiot. He’s a rich idiot.
    Let’s all get rid of our computers. Let’s take down the web. Just think. We could all be outside planting a garden or taking a walk on this beautiful spring day.
    If the people of New York vote for Bloomberg for a third time then they deserve him. They can eat the salt from their own tears.

  15. Mar
    3
    5:10
    AM
    Low Fat Diet

    If we follow all the advice we are given on what to eat then we would starve as they say everything is bad!

  16. Mar
    3
    5:13
    AM
    Peter Morell

    We don’t know what will get us in the end but stressing over what we should and shouldn’t eat won’t help.

  17. Mar
    3
    5:15
    AM
    Jim Daley

    I agree that too much salt is bad but it is near on impossible to avoid it.

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