Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Salt: Another thing you must not have.

I haven't seen salt on the supermarket shelves for well over a month. Not a grain. I know there was that panic buying episode due to the 'Aaaagh, there's no road salt' scare and most of that table salt is now soaked into, and cracking, drives and pavements all over the country.

There's not much snow around now. A few lumps of it where it was piled up but the roads, pavements and driveways are all perfectly clear and have been for over a week. Yet there's still no salt on the shelves.

The cynic in me is wondering if the road salt scare was manufactured as a method to rid the shelves of bagged salt, using the excuse that 'someone was in earlier and bought it all'.

Why? Well, because salt costs the NHS billions, you know.

You didn't know? Don't worry. You will.

An American study found that Americans eat twice the recommended amount of salt every day. Leave aside that Americans tend to be twice as big as the recommended size, that the recommended amount is another of those 'one size fits all' diktats and that most of that salt comes from processed food, not the salt shaker, and just believe. Believe that it's costing the American healthcare system billions. Now they are moving to an NHS model, they'll find all sorts of bans can be justified because the Terrible Thing costs the taxpayer money. They'll soon find that it's easy to get the mob onside if they think it's costing them personally.

This study has not been carried out in Europe, and yet...

Commenting independently on the study’s findings, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) welcomed the results as underlining “the urgent need for public health measures to substantially reduce the population’s salt intake across Europe”.

There has been no study claiming that Europeans eat twice the daily made-up number of salt grains. There won't be. It started in America, you know.

Professor Frank Ruschitzka, a cardiologist from the University of Zurich and spokesperson for the ESC said: “This study provides excellent ammunition both to convince patients about the benefits of reducing their individual salt intakes and also to persuade the EU of the urgent need to introduce legislation to restrict the salt content of processed foods.

Next time you visit the doctor, arrive early. He has a whole speil to go through before you get anywhere near discussing what's wrong with you. How much you smoke and/or drink, how much fat you eat, your waist size, how much exercise you do and now how much salt is in your diet. Then he'll take your blood pressure, which by this time is guaranteed to be too high. Try not to grind your teeth too hard or he might section you.

“This study represents the evidence that a reduction of salt intake not only lowers blood pressure but also prevents cardiovascular events. The case for population-wide salt reduction is now compelling, he added.

Population-wide salt reduction. Another population-wide control which will also apply to those who cook fresh food and don't add salt when cooking. Based on a study carried out on a different continent, with a different food culture entirely, we are to reduce our salt intake or else.

It's not salt that puts up blood pressure and causes heart attacks. It's the unrelenting nagging from unelected little Righteous dictators that does it.

Best look up the symptoms of salt deficiency and watch out for them. It'll be joining rickets and scurvy as the next thing doctors will be surprised to see making a comeback in an allegedly civilised society.

Oh, and if you see a bag of salt, buy it. It doesn't go off. Keep it dry and you can store it for decades.

UPDATE: Longrider has another source. Apparently the American study on which the calls for restrictions are based was... a mathematical model.

In other words, no actual people were studied anywhere. The entire research project was based on a computer-generated simulation. Yet this is hailed as Great Science and will be used to push for controls on our lifestyles.

We've been here before...


Gareth said...

Salt for human consumption is doped with iodine for health reasons isn't it? To help prevent mental retardation. Perhaps they are hoping to stupify an entire nation by taking the fortified salt from us.

Salt consumption is only a problem if you are already ill.

Dave H said...

"...provides excellent ammunition..."

Joined up thinking around health issues.

A Professor, FFS.

Anonymous said...

"Best look up the symptoms of salt deficiency..."

Deficiency Symptoms of Sodium

1. The body loses sodium every day by the way of the urine and also via sweat, which is why a considerable amount is lost on hot days and also by exercise session.
2. Symptoms of a sodium deficiency that is combined with a loss of water most often include muscle cramps and weakness, dizziness, an inability to concentrate, memory impairment and nausea.
3. If the deficiency symptoms of sodium become serious, the circulatory system can collapse and the body can go into shock.
4. The deficiency symptoms may include fatigue, apathy, muscle twitching and anorexia may also occur.
5. A deficiency in sodium alone can allow water to enter the cells causing the cells to become swollen. Water intoxication may result.

On hearsay, GPs are now seeing cases of salt deficiency where this was once very rare.


Anonymous said...

PS. Waitrose still have stocks.


subrosa said...

I love salt and use it whenever I can in cooking. Of course an overdose is immediately evident so it's used in moderation.

A wee tip for cooks though. When cooking requires boiling water for pasta, veg, boil in the bag rice etc, add the salt once the water has come to the boil. Salted cold water takes longer to boil.

A cheaper way is to boil the kettle and use that. Quicker too.

If you enjoy these useless cooking tips and can't wait for the next one you're going to be very disappointed.

Read Delia instead. :)

Leg-iron said...

The Co-op have salt - at £1 per kg! I wonder what the black market price will be next winter?

Anon- salt deficiency is starting because people are told it's bad for them, take it seriously and then refuse to use any at all. They treat it like a poison because that's what they've been told it is.

Same with cholesterol. The whole focus is on reducing it - but you need some!

Subrosa - I rarely add salt when cooking but usually add it afterwards to the cooked food. It's just an easier way to avoid what happens if you put too much salt in.

I added far too much to a prawn curry once. It was like taking a mouthful of seawater. Still, the prawns would have felt right at home.

Parsley can reduce an oversalty taste. It doesn't get rid of the salt, just the taste.

JuliaM said...

A lot of supermarket ready meals and soups already leave out the salt. And try as you might, you just can't put it back in afterwards...

Anonymous said...

i was diagnosed with high blood pressure, and ive never put salt on anything,so using perverse logic i put salt on everything, i also drank plenty of mineral water, lo and behold i now have low blood pressure everything the government says is absolute bollocks

Anonymous said...

I noticed a sign in M&S which proudly proclaimed that it would be eliminating salt from ready meals ahead of government targets. I really resent a bloody grocer presuming that their customers agree that it's A Good Thing. Wonder if they'll twig when sales plummet because their meals have become tasteless.


Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Readymade meals need salt in to make them taste of something approximating to that of edible food stuffs.

Remove it and it'll be like munching on sawdust, used soapy dishwater and grandma's 4 hour boiled cabbage.

And another thing I hate: going to stuck up, self-righteous idiots that gulp down this government propaganda as quickly as the 8 litres of bottled water they force themselves to drink each day, and invite you over for a home cooked meal, and just as you've managed to avoid projectile vomiting the tasteless, overcooked ruminant feed they've just served, turn around with righteous indignation, raised noses saluting 45°C to the pole star, eyes closed, announce with the fervour of a tofu jihadist:

"We don't use salt any more, it’s bad for you, dontcha know"

And the dismay, oh the heart wrenching dismay, when you realise the salt cellar has been bundled swiftly into the back of a ZIL to the salt mines of Iletsk.

paulo said...

"tofu jihadist"

Love it!


Leg-iron said...

JuliaM - True, soup is an exception to the add-salt-afterwards way of doing things. It has to be in there at the start.

Anon 17:48 - I have low blood pressure but ten minutes on the Mail's website and I'm fine for the day. Meetings are difficult, if I sit still for too long I have a tendency to nod off. In some meetings that's not so bad.

Anon 19:03 - If M&S want to keep charging those prices, they'd better reconsider taking the flavour out of their food. If it tastes like something you could have bought in Lidl, they won't get much business.

Leg-iron said...

Beware of Geeks - I don't know anyone like that any more. That's because I refuse to visit them and because they think I'm the Smoking Salty Satan or something.

I do like to drop the term 'salt deficiency' and hope they try looking it up.

I just wish I could be there to watch them deny what they see.

Labour should really have read Darwin's book. Natural selection will take care of all these gullible people eventually.

View from the Solent said...

I think the Righteous have covered everything else, so I reckon the next bullshit woo is that fucking is bad for your health.
Any other suggestions?

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

Leg Iron, indeed you are right - when their money runs out, they'll be rotating like Schrödinger's cat hovering over the ground with a load of buttered toast on its back, wondering how they can get their 5 litres/day, 5 fruit/day ad nauseum...

Alan said...

They'll add twice as much MSG instead. And double the garlic, why oh why do they think chicken and leek soup needs more garlic than chicken or leek.

Anonymous said...

I remember, some years ago, my doctor saying that it is a matter of fact that our bodies expel surplus salt. If it were not so, then the human race would have become extinct long ago because Sodium, in itself, is poisonous.

Obviously, a really seriously large intake of salt will kill one, but IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES salt is required for our bodily welfare and too much is excreted.

Another 'it might just be possible that that there is some risk for someone somewhere and therefore we all have to conform' scenario.

How on earth do these people get control?

Anonymous said...

Drink eight glasses of water a day,add no salt to your food and take plenty of sweaty exercise.
What amazing advice.
People will be dropping like flies from salt deficiency very soon.
Anyone stupid enough to follow this advice is a zombie, they are already dead they just don't know it yet.

RantinRab said...

At my work, (I work for a major supermarket), we still cannot get salt bar for the odd case or two.

Looking through sales figures the other night, I noticed that dishwasher salt sales increased by 800% during the cold snap. An expensive way of clearing your garden path!

English Pensioner said...

What I have never managed to find out is the basis for all these "recommended daily allowances" and other medical figures, including the definition of obesity. As I said on my own blog a couple of weeks ago, "Where do they all come from?". Media statements always seem to say "Research shows that ...", but never give any facts. When I have visited a hot climate, I've always had to take a mixture of salts with plenty of liquid to avoid dehydration, and having collapsed on one occasion, was told to take even more!
And if I cut my salt intake, I get quite severe aches and pains in some joints, particularly my knees.

View from the Solent said... One among many.

Manu said...

@English Pensioner: I'm pretty sure that the 'research' in the media statements in question comes from the same lab that discovered the 7 signs of ageing and came up with the scientific unit of hair 'silkiness'...

Rob said...

Americans eat twice as much salt as us, yet their life expectancy is higher, or at least not significantly lower (I don't have the facts, but I doubt their life expectancy is 59, for example).

What this tells me is that they can eat salt by the handfull yet not, as a population group, suffer any significant adverse health effect.

I'm not sure this is the message that the OberHealthGruppe want to get across.

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