Halt! No Salt!

By Spencer Ackerman

The proposed New York City salt ban is the sort of thing that makes me massage the bridge of my nose and breathe deeply so as not to lose my cool. There is a marginal health benefit, at absolute best, to restricting salt from restaurant cooking. What really drives overconsumption of sodium is processed and prepared foods. That’s why even a cursory internet search for “low-sodium diet” leads you to instructions about restricting your consumption of processed food. Ask the American Heart Association. (“The majority [up to 75 percent] of sodium that Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers.”)

Overconsumption of sodium is a real health problem. My mother, a dietician, once led a community-based campaign with the headline I’ve used in this post.  So to see politicians who should know better leading a charge to ban salt from restaurant kitchens is… I’ll just say frustrating.

Also frustrating is the tweetdebate I got into earlier with Max Fisher of the Atlantic. His contention:

Sometimes politics more about theater than governance. Maybe thats bad, but in this case it’s at least in support of good cause

We have no dispute about the worthiness of the cause. But this is the sort of thing that calls for federal regulation — and that already-arduous cause is diminished, not enhanced, by theatrical absurdities like Assemblyman Felix Ortiz’s misdirected salt campaign.


5 responses to “Halt! No Salt!

  1. well the part of the reason salt in home-made foods is so low is insufficient seasoning by home cooks.
    and outside of some high-income subcultures, eating out (aka at a restaurant) is the same as eating processed foods. applebee’s isn’t making whatever ingredients they found at the farmer’s market that morning.

  2. The inevitability of these types of proposals is the reason why direct regulation is too blunt an instrument for improving peoples diet.

  3. all this because bloomberg likes to add salt to his saltines….

  4. Belinda Gomez

    Stewie, you have no cool to lose. And this sort of Big Nurse action is now going to invade every aspect of our lives, thanks to Pelosi and Obama.

  5. very informative post to read.

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