I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.- Thomas Jefferson.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

the Nanny State to save us from a salty death

Most of you have probably seen the new proposals by certain "expert" panels urging the FDA to REQUIRE food manufacturers to lower salt content in their products.  Not just label salt content, but lower it.  It shames my profession to see doctors making such ludicrous recommendations.  I hope most of you agree that diet should be an individual choice, but there are actually many Americans who think that the govt should be restricting our dietary choices.  The Nanny State marches forward.  Other recent dietary examples- ban on new fast food restaraunts in LA,  ban on foie gras in Chicago (not for health, to impose morality), trans-fat bans, bans on junk food in schools, etc.  Some might not be bothered by the junk food in school ban, but I would argue that this should be more a parenting issue, and remember what happens any time you ban something.  Black Market. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235279/Boy-12-suspended-crisp-dealing-school-banned-junk-food.html.  Am I going to have to buy my salt on the corner of 9th and Washington, where I buy my heroin?

I heard Eleanor Clift actually say what I've warned about in the past, re National Health Insurance, this weekend.  "Now that the federal government is involved in our health care, this is a matter of public health... you could throw out every salt shaker and you would have a very difficult time reducing salt, because the processed foods that many of us buy for convenience are loaded with salt...Most people are more threatened by salt than they are from a hard-working Mexican coming across the border...I don't care whether we're Americans, what nationality you are. Unless you're willing to go to the supermarket and read every label, you have no idea how much sodium you get."

There you have it. Americans can't be trusted to look after themselves, we can't actually be bothered w reading labels.  Perhaps we should all be locked in our homes, have appropriate foods delivered to our doorstep, and placed in a special refrigerator, that can only be opened after we burned the authorized number of calories on the govt installed treadmill.  Or maybe we will be allowed to choose between a treadmill and a rowing machine (Do they still have those?  I haven't been to a gym in a while.)  I think I should have the right to pour as much salt as I want on my Bacon wrapped, trans-fat impregnated, deep fried twinkies.  And I should be allowed to purchase whatever private health insurance is willing to over-charge me for my risky behavior.  They should also have the right to offer me discounts if I curtail this risky behavior ;  I shouldn't have to subsidize YOUR health insurance if you want to engage in this behavior.

Back to salt, specifically.  There are certainly a large number of americans w HTN who will benefit from reduced salt.  The science is unclear on whether salt reduction can prevent the developement of HTN in people w currently normal BP.  While some studies suggest this, I think it is safe to say that there are a large number of people for whom salt reduction will do nothing.  There are some uncommon conditions in which increased salt intake may be beneficial.  To have a federal regulation to limit a non-poisonous substance in all food, for which lower total intake of said substance will benefit some people, is foolhardy at best (even if it were a substantial majority who would benefit, it would not be appropriate.)

Most Americans and I are, I believe, capable of making informed decisions as to how to run our lives, better than the govt.  Govt, please stay out of my refrigerator, my doctors office, my gun cabinet, and just about every place else.

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