Medical researchers at Harvard University have released a report which says that Americans eat too much salt. This is a follow-up report on an earlier report by the same team, authored by the same man with the unpronounceable name, which concluded that Americans eat too much sugar.
The author of the report, predictably, called for the federal government to enact legislation to limit the intake of salt in processed foods. In other words, he wants to turn the federal government into the equivalent of Nanny Bloomberg. He doesn’t like sugar. He doesn’t like salt. And, most of all, he doesn’t like liberty.
The Salt Institute, a manufacturer’s Association, recommended that we take the report with a grain of salt. Not really; I wish it had. Unfortunately, the PR guy at the Salt Institute did not make fun of the report. The way to deal with a report like this is to make fun of it.
I have no doubt that Americans eat too much processed food. I eat almost none of it. I eat very little salt. I also need very little sugar. But it is none of my business, nor should it be the business of the federal government, to tell Americans what they ought to eat. The best thing that the federal government could do would be to stop all agricultural subsidies, shut down the Department of Agriculture, and cease to publish any reports on what is good for us to eat. Since we are not going to pay any attention to what a bunch of tenured bureaucrats say we should eat, why should we continue to pay tax money to fund such people to tell us do what we know we are not going to do. They also know we are not going to do it. The only reason why they keep telling us not to do what we are going to do is because they get paid to publish reports.
Just because somebody was silly enough to finance this report is no reason for anybody to take seriously. The public is not going to change its eating habits because of a report from Harvard University. The best thing for the rest of us to do is to ignore the report.
There is an insatiable desire on the part of people getting grant money to publish reports so that they will get attention in the media. When somebody says that 10% of Americans die because they eat too much salt, this gets media attention. The idea that we eat too much salt implies that there is some kind of statistically valid measure of what constitutes Goldilocks salt intake. It assumes that there is a universal standard that applies to all of us. But the only universal standard that the government ever comes up with is a universal standard of keeping overpaid people on its payroll for another year to publish articles that nobody will pay any attention to. That is the universal standard of government: the publication of articles that no one ought to read, and which, fortunately, almost nobody will read.
Deep down in the inner being of experts in nutrition, whether good guys or bad guys, is an inner nanny. “If you continue to eat this way, you are going to die!” Yes, I am.
Hardly anybody pays any attention to these studies. While I am not a consumer of many processed foods, with a few exceptions, my general attitude is that you will live longer and have more healthy life if you ignore nutrition reports coming out of either Harvard University or the United States Department of Agriculture. Less stress is good for you.