Food Pyramid Gone Bad

Among the health food fanatics, of which I probably have to count myself one, the first week of February was a week of strife and turmoil. About what, you ask? The much anticipated but dreaded new dietary food guidelines released by the USDA on the 31st of January. As you might expect I found very little to agree with and lots that stirred my ire. Not least of which was the sodium guideline.

As reported on the AARP website the following statement regarding sodium intake was quoted:

Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams for many people and further reduce intake to 1,500 milligrams for people who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

Currently, people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day or about 1½ teaspoons.

If you visit Krisinsight periodically you know I have written about sodium intake several times and if you tune in often you may well know I take salt by the measuring spoon several times a day. My objection to the “new” guideline is making a blanket statement about sodium consumption which would be like saying one size shoe fits all when that is far from the truth. The goodness or badness of salt consumption is not black and white and to make a blanket statement saying that all Americans should consume less salt is tantamount to destroying some people’s lives.

All week the media, who love a good empty headed story to report, yammered on about cutting salt and what foods you could eat that were low in sodium. When I found myself wanting to lecture the mindless blathering media talking heads I turned the television off. (Give me some credit I do know when to turn it off. Sometimes I just don’t do it fast enough). Not once did I hear any reference to the
healthy salt called Celtic Grey Salt not even a sotto voce reference to the fact that there is a healthy alternative. Nope, but I did hear repetitively that the USDA has decided that salt is the big offender to our human race and it crosses all racial barriers and hates us all. Pardon me but that is just plain “stronzate”.

It has been found in various unbiased research projects that even people with high blood pressure do well with sea salt because the sodium is lower in sea salt and it is totally unprocessed (if it is grey, if it is white it is processed even if called sea salt) In particular people with thyroid disease have an increased need for sodium and all the minerals that unprocessed sea salt provides like magnesium and potassium. What happens if they don’t get enough sodium? Dizziness, fainting, dangerously low blood pressure and other maladies. Low sodium affects your cortisol levels and if you already have weak adrenals restricting salt will make a bad situation even worse.

Mary Claire Jalonick of The Associated Press wrote this  “The assault on salt is aimed strongly at the food industry, which is responsible for the majority of sodium most people consume. Most salt consumption doesn’t come from the shaker on the table; it’s hidden in foods such as breads, chicken and pasta.” So far she isn’t too far off as the food industry does have a lot to answer for, in particular the fast food industry. What she forgets to add or doesn’t know is the “salt” that  the fast food industry uses is mostly MSG laden seasonings that fool your taste buds in to thinking that the fast food delicacies you consume are actually tasty when, in fact, they are little more than dog food and not even good dog food.

She loses all credibility when she adds this “It has long been known that too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and other problems.”  This is where it becomes pure drivel and lacks any real research on her part , she is just quoting what the mainstream press puts out there and hasn’t bothered to do any independent research or ability to look outside the “proverbial” box.

At our house one of us has marginally high blood pressure and one of us doesn’t. After reading what Dr. Brownstein had to say about salt I decided to increase our grey sea salt even for the one who has marginally high blood pressure. Through my own experimentation I have learned that it has little effect on blood pressure, I can unequivocally say that it did not raise the blood pressure, if anything it lowered it slightly with no other additions to the daily routine. Perhaps Mary Claire needs to do her own trial and error experimentation to see if what she writes holds water or is it merely a quote taken from a book or another newspaper.

Okay rant over. Phew! I feel better. In closing let me say that there are situations where salt ingestion may be bad and weak or impaired kidneys are one such situation. I cannot speak to this disease and will not make any recommendations for people who have organic failure. I can speak for my own experience, my own insight, and my conclusion is grey sea salt is a wonderful addition to my diet. It is so good for me I could put it in capsules and take it like a supplement. Celtic sea salt will stay on my table and in my spice cupboard no matter what the USDA dictates. My best advise is don’t believe the hype, research the information out there, try Celtic sea salt for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Have a great week,

Kris

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