Why Salt Is Just Like Pot


saltRemember when we could eat whatever we wanted, and the only one layering on the guilt was our friendly neighborhood family doctor? Ah, those were the days.

Before San Francisco told parents they don't know a chicken nugget from their behind, and before the City of New York decided they wanted to cause mass depression. As if it wasn't bad enough they now require calorie content labeling everywhere you turn, they're targeting sugar intake by banning sweet drinks from food stamp users' purchases, and now they're trying to kick the salt to the curb.

Coming soon: travel agents booking trips to the Big Apple from Weight Watchers meetings.

Eating in Manhattan used to be fun. It's the gastronomic capital of the Northeast (if not the entire U.S.). Now they can't decide what's worse: sugar, fat, salt, or letting an American pave her own way to a heart attack.

Any guesses, America? We're wagering it's number four that scares them the most, and here's proof: the latest campaign -- which has put warnings that salt "can lead to heart attack and stroke" -- is funded in part by the federal government. They're going to save us all from ourselves!

But even if they manage to protect us from heart attack and stroke with the salt, from diabetes with the sugar, and from being a walking, talking tub of fattiness with the calorie counts, are they really going to solve our problems?

When I walk into a cupcake shop in New York, I get a major case of the blues. In town for just one day, I want an indulgence. Instead I get to stare at a placard warning this apple cinnamon delight with cream cheese frosting has no less than 640 calories. Gee, New York, here I thought the presence of apples made it good for me. And now I can't even get the smile I was gunning for with my solitary cupcake indulgence (earned after walking miles in the city to avoid cab fare).

If you don't know a cupcake is bad for you, I'm guessing you probably haven't had your blood pressure or your cholesterol checked lately anyway. And you're probably going to town on a bottle of sugar-laden soda as I write this. You're kind of a lost cause.

But at the end of the day, all these programs will make you finally feel bad about the bad stuff you're eating. And guess what scientists found depressed people tend to do? Eat bad stuff. Yup, it's kind of like pot. Tell us it's no good for us, and we just want more of it.

Thanks New York!


Image via Casey Serin/Flickr

eating healthy, emotional health


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nonmember avatar Bronwyn

Thank you so much for writing this! I feel the same way with this B.S.

tazdvl tazdvl

This is stupid. Putting warnings on cigarettes hasn't stopped people from smoking what makes them think putting warnings on salt is going to do anything.

Sarah McEvoy

I work in an academic health research department, and so I get extremely annoyed about all the anti-salt advice. It's true that if you a) have high blood pressure or b) are at risk of high blood pressure (which, in practice, usually means you're obese or you have some medical condition such as diabetes), then you should limit your salt intake. I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the way the advice is dished out as though it applied to everyone.

It doesn't. If your blood pressure is normal and you don't have any risk factors for high blood pressure, the amount of salt you will get in a normal diet won't harm you. If, like me, you have low blood pressure, you actively need to make sure you get enough salt. I tend to treat the UK government guideline as a minimum, not a maximum... and I know if I don't, because I start feeling dizzy.

I hear reports from doctors' surgeries that there are suddenly a lot of patients turning up with alarmingly low sodium levels. Well, of course there are. They've all been told to reduce their salt when there's no need. It's exactly the same as being told to reduce your calorie intake when there's no need - it's dangerous.

Sorry to rant, but people do need to know about this.

Sarah McEvoy

(And I apologise for the lack of paragraphs in the above comment.  I did put them in, but the software for unknown reasons took them out.)

nonmember avatar lleello

I don't agree with putting the number of calories of food killing your indulgence.
I always counting calories when I eat to the point that I can almost always guess the calories correctly just by looking. But when I want to have indulgence, I do eat cookies/cakes/cupcakes/ice cream/whatever I am craving for, and make adjustments afterwards.
Information should not make you feel bad about the stuff you are eating;it should help you make better food plans.

Kyrie Wise Smith

Yeah, I wish the government would just stay out of it. People know what they're eating is bad. I shouldn't have to deal with the now not so yummy samoa cookies because they jacked my trans fats!!! I bought one box and I'm sorry girls but never again. It's one thing to put a warning label and another to take them out.

Miriam Kennedy

I'm like lleello. I count calories. So I find it really helpful to know that that desert has 640 calories in it so that I know if I do go ahead and have it,I have just under 900 left for the day.

nonmember avatar josieb

cupcakes and regular sodas are high in sugar. Sure they do have some salt or sodium, but its the high sugar that is their biggest threat. Same for the apple cinnamon delight.

Vdutc... VdutchxgurlV

Too much of anything isnt good for us, but I feel they have gone wayyy too far with warnings meds foods sex excersise cell phones the list goes on wth pretty soon we will be eating pills instead of food because of what the government feels is right we can eat what we want in moderation of course! And yess pot food are the best combo!

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