An Assault on Liberty

I see that salt is once more on the menu. Dick Puddlecote points us to this.

High dietary salt has detrimental effects on blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes. The question, say Francesco Cappuccio and colleagues, is not whether to reduce salt intake but how to do so. With the upcoming United Nations High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases in mind, they make the case for population level policy interventions.

See that? Not whether to, but how to –  as it what we eat is any of their damned business. Frankly, the amount of salt I consume is my business alone and no one else’s and I will do all that I can to keep it that way. Indeed, the whole salt links with cardiovascular problems is based upon junk science anyway. I’m pretty liberal with salt in my cooking and that will continue. I will also add it afterwards to flavour as I see fit. And, despite all the salt I intake, I have low blood pressure, not high.

The worry is that people take this bunk seriously. A while back I witnessed a couple of youngsters who thought that pistachio nuts were junk food and dangerous because they had added salt. I did my best to disabuse them of that notion, pointing out that nuts had proteins and these are essential to our diet. Indeed, a low salt diet can kill you –  our cells need it to maintain their structural integrity. A high salt diet for most of us will be harmless as our bodies are designed to excrete the excess. And as DP points out, in other parts of the world, the population consumes more than we do with no noticeable effects on health.

Never mind, though, the puritans have salt firmly in their sights and are seeking to micromanage our lives for us.

Raised blood pressure is the dominant cause of death and disability in adults worldwide,

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I’ll tell you what raises my blood pressure and it isn’t what I eat…

Still, despite the fact that salt intake does not adversely affect our health, our health secretary is determined to indulge in the same kind of micromanagement as the coalition’s predecessors.

Companies will also agree to reduce salt levels to ensure that average intake falls to 6g a day by next year.

Under the terms of the agreement, manufacturers will make sure that sausages have no more than 1.13g of salt per 100g, tomato ketchup no more than 1.83g per 100g, and pizzas 1g of salt per 100g.

My response to this will be the same as my response to shop bought sandwiches without butter. Two pieces of dry bread slapped around a filling with no butter simply means that I won’t buy them. I will prepare them myself at home and make sure that I do get a bit of butter on my bread. I will decide how much salt I eat, not Andrew Lansley or the appeasers in the food industry. It being my body and my health, the only person who gets to decide what I eat is me. If they insist upon trying, I will simply prepare more food at home that meets my taste and take it with me.

On a related note, Mrs L was complaining about the tendency to only have skimmed milk at work. Skimmed –  or even semi-skimmed –  milk is pointless and frankly tastes pretty disgusting. You might as well take your coffee black rather than put that muck in it. I suggested that she buy some gold top and take it in with her. That way she gets a decent tasting coffee. Sure enough, I noticed a bottle of gold top in the fridge the following day waiting to go into work.


Cross posted from Longrider

13 comments for “An Assault on Liberty

  1. August 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    “6g a day by next year.”

    Is that for someone of 45 kilos or someone three times as heavy at 135 kilos? Is the 135 kilo person taking too little salt at 6g per day or is the 45 kilo person taking too much?

    I now use more salt because I like it and I’ve bought a wine rack, so that’s my behaviour well modified.

    • August 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      We aren’t supposed to ask awkward questions like that. Ours is to obey our betters and not ask why.

  2. August 27, 2011 at 11:54 am

    The Mail came up with a new one this week:

    ‘…just over a teaspoon of salt a day could dull the mind and raise the risk of Alzheimer’s…’

    I’ve already written elsewhere about two separate elderly acquaintances who ended up needing emergency treatment for the effects of salt deficiency – one came close to being sectioned for his symptoms before the diagnosis was made – after obeying to the letter the NHS mantra ‘Say no to salt’.

    Both are excessively health-conscious and had obediently eliminated salt completely from their carefully prepared whole-food diets, unaware that the NHS injunction to ‘say no’ is based on the assumption that everyone eats enough processed bread, cereal and ready meals to meet their daily salt intake requirement.

    Meanwhile, you hit the nail on the head with this:

    A high salt diet for most of us will be harmless as our bodies are designed to excrete the excess

    Reducing salt intake is just the latest chapter in the saga of mass diet control and medication – statins, anyone? – unnecessarily treating a whole population to ensure the measures reach the few who actually need it.

    From the statistician’s viewpoint, the resulting casualties are of no more significance than hedgerow flowers killed by crop-dusting with pesticides.

    • August 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Yes, they can stick their statins where the sun don’t shine as well.

  3. Fred Forsythe (not the)
    August 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Don’t you mean
    ‘An Assalt on Liberty’ ?
    Like any dead beef our politicians should be hung for 28 days or 10hrs per pound whichever is the longer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • August 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      My pun was a tad more subtle than that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. NeilM
    August 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Doesn’t extra salt on our food help to reduce obesity by controlling appetite? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • August 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      But it makes you want to drink more…

      • August 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

        As I’m about to do.

      • nisakiman
        August 27, 2011 at 6:59 pm

        Sure does. I eat a diet fairly high in salt, and it certainly seems to make me drink more. Red wine, mostly.

        • August 28, 2011 at 6:44 am


          • August 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

            Drink! Feck! Girls! Arse!

            Seemed appropriate, somehow. :mrgreen:

  5. August 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Don’t worry, I’m sure Ban Milton will sort all this out for us.

Comments are closed.