July 29, 2011


If anyone’s feeling an uneasy soup-stain-on-shirt-front sense of embarrassment, it should be Mayor Bloomberg’s Health Department. That department has gone on a huge public campaign to encourage odium for sodium, with processed soup a designated villain, as with a notorious public-service ad showing salt crystals spraying out of a can of the product. Doesn’t seem to be working, now, does it?

In fact, the science on salt and health has long been more complicated than you might think. Per Scientific American, “In just the past few months researchers have published seemingly contradictory studies showing that excess sodium in the diet leads to heart attacks, reduces your blood pressure or has no effect at all.” This month, the venerable science monthly ran an article by Melinda Wenner Moyer under the startling headline, “It’s Time to End the War on Salt.” City health commissioner Thomas Farley must have needed reviving with smelling salts, assuming his office hasn’t tried to ban those yet.

There’s a lot of junk science in health regulation, but there’s no accountability when it’s wrong.

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