By all appearances, this is a moment of reckoning for salt. High blood pressure is rising among adults and children. Government health experts estimate that deep cuts in salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year... [that's a low ball estimate... check out my earlier post here for referenced statistics] the industry is working overtly and behind the scenes to fend off these attacks, using a shifting set of tactics that have defeated similar efforts for 30 years, records and interviews show. Industry insiders call the strategy “delay and divert” and say companies have a powerful incentive to fight back: they crave salt as a low-cost way to create tastes and textures. Doing without it risks losing customers, and replacing it with more expensive ingredients risks losing profits... [and clearly profits are more important than healthy people...]
...Salt also works in tandem with fat and sugar to achieve flavors that grip the consumer and do not let go — an allure the industry has recognized for decades. “Once a preference is acquired,” a top scientist at Frito-Lay wrote in a 1979 internal memorandum, “most people do not change it, but simply obey it.” [Essentially acknowledging it's addictive]
...Salt started out more than 5,000 years ago as a simple preservative. But salt and dozens of compounds containing sodium — the element in salt linked to hypertension — have become omnipresent in processed foods from one end of the grocery store to the other.
...The food industry releases some 10,000 new products a year, the Department of Agriculture has reported, and processed foods, along with restaurant meals, now account for roughly 80 percent of the salt in the American diet. The rest comes from the kitchen salt shaker or occurs naturally in food. In promoting cooking with salt, Cargill and its star chef, Mr. Brown, said they recognized the health concerns and recommended “smarter salting...”" [How about intelligent non-salting?]
The above are selected snippets from this article. It's depressing when one realizes that, just like with the successes of the dairy, meat, sugar, and fat industries have had in convincing people and regulators that they're doing nothing wrong, the salt industry will probably stave off or delay most serious efforts to reduce sodium consumption for many years. Indeed, if so many vegans still consume much more sodium (Tamari, soy sauce, Bragg's), added non-food fat as olive oil (ridiculous amounts), and sweetner (with abandon), than even the American Heart Association recommends, how can we expect the "average" American not to do the same?
experience it takes (1) believing in the facts, (2) a determination
that you will reduce your addictions to fat, sugar and salt to
facilitate a healthier life, and (3) staying with it long enough to
enable your taste receptors, as Dr. Esselstyn puts it, be
re-calibrated. It can be done, you just have to want to.
For some it's easy, for some it's not, for all it's advised.
Them's the facts. Added sugar, fat, and salt, are the unholy (and
highly addictive) trio. Reduce consumption of them, and you increase
your chances for a longer, healthier, and happier life.