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Pass the Shaker, Please: End the Salt Persecution

Salt in Bowl

Salt. One of those four-letter words in food culture these days. So very fundamental to our existence that some of the earliest trade routes were to carry salt from source to need. So ingrained (Get it? Ingrained? I crack me up…) in our culture that the word for earnings is “salary,” or salt money. Ancient greeting ceremonies used bread and salt, and Roman soldiers took the Emperor’s salt as pay.

Besides all that, it’s a great way to make food taste better.

Somehow, though, Technic Man has chosen to turn his back on salt. For nearly forty years there’s been a systematic discrimination against salt. Not merely by the medical community, who are always urging you to put the salt shaker away. For the past year, even Michelle Obama has been pushing food manufacturers to reduce sodium in products.

Salt on Drink

Okay, there’s some good evidence that salt is bad for you, in large quantities. For instance, having several packets of Ramen noodles at one time for lunch isn’t a great idea. Some folks need to control their salt intake, of course. Like not eating a whole quart of dill pickles at one sitting. But the ongoing discrimination against this basic food additive isn’t warranted. Salt is the food additive that enhances the flavor of nearly everything else. You don’t need a mound of it either.

So why do we attack poor, defenseless sodium chloride so aggressively? In the 70’s there was a study published implicating salt as a major factor in hypertension in lab rats. What’s wrong with that study? Several things. First, there’s always a question or six that can be raised with a medical study that draws conclusions for human health from animal-only models. Setting that aside, though, and looking deep in the details of the study, we find that these poor rats were fed mega-doses of salt. Hypertension was caused when these rodents had consumed the equivalent of more than a pound of salt for a human. Per day. For a long time.

Hopefully, we’re smarter than that these days. Enjoying salt in moderation should be the watchword.

Salt BP

Besides, recent studies don’t agree with the original one.

Still, that’s the main “medical study” used today to chase salt from our tables. Worse yet, it’s a wedge for the nanny state to get involved with your dinner (and don’t get me started on politics and food!). We don’t need to be spending all these clock cycles assaulting salt (man, I’m on a roll here) when there are so many more worthy causes. Such as redesigning the Barbie Doll or something.

It’s time to end the war on salt, as this article states clearly. Not only for good taste, but to bring some sanity to the discussion about our food chain and its effects on our lives. You want to attack some food that deserves it, take on manufactured white bread with its lack of nutrients and weird, unpronounceable additives…

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Use Salt…


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