Monday, February 7, 2011

A Thought on the New Dietary Guidelines

Who knew there is such a thing as the Salt Institute? If you really stop to think about it, I guess it makes sense that there is an industry trade group for salt as there is for virtually everything, but who thinks about it? I certainly never did and I actually spend time thinking about these sorts of odd food things.

Why do I now know there is a Salt Institute? Because they are complaining that the new Government dietary guidelines with regard to salt are "drastic, simplistic, unrealistic."

The USDA's recently released, newly revised dietary guidelines continue to recommend that we consume fewer than 2300 mg. of sodium per day. They also advise certain groups to go even further and stay under 1500 mg. per day: those over 51 (!!), all African Americans, and everyone with diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease. I've read that these subgroups constitute 50% of Americans.

As I've written here several times, I'm not against salt. I use it to flavor my cooking, in moderation, all the time. However, I do object to the whopping amounts added to certain packaged products and meals at certain restaurants. My approach is to avoid as much packaged food and chain restaurant eating as possible. But, even staying under 2300 mg. per day of sodium requires some label reading as a serving of bread can have over 300 mg. and a sandwich uses two slices.

While the guidelines could be considered drastic, perhaps they should be. Are they simplistic? Only if you're a food producer in the business of overusing salt. As to unrealistic, they are not if you cook at home, but might be until more food producers join in cutting back the sodium added to their food products. If you've ever read "Eat This, Not That" you know that individual meals sold at certain restaurants can contain more that the recommended daily allowance of 2300 mg. of sodium in just one dish.

No comments:

Post a Comment