Salt has joined eggs, wheat, and pretty much everything else we put into our sacred, bulbous temples as a substance that Science says is either pure poison or life-giving manna. While we look on like kittens watching a tennis match, Dr. Sean Lucan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine rebuts DOH Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley's assertion that New Yorkers are plunging the savory knife of salinity into our chests. "We do not know that reducing mean population sodium intake would decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease or save lives," Lucan writes in this month's American Journal of Public Health. "Randomized controlled trial evidence suggests…that lower sodium intake may lead to worsened cardiovascular disease and earlier death."
“My concern is that they’re focusing on a single ingredient that the food industry is going to have to replace with something—and what they replace it with might be more damaging,” Dr. Lucan explained to the Post. “There is a relationship between sodium and blood pressure, but it’s not consistent. And even when it’s present, it isn’t clinically very substantial."
Dr. Lucan added that refined sugars are "a greater enemy" than foods rich in sodium. “If sugar-sweetened beverages are a public-health problem, then why aren’t sugar-laden cookies?” Did anyone just hear a cheer coming from northeast Connecticut?
However, Commissioner Farley isn't backing down. “The body of evidence demonstrates that excess sodium consumption is an important population-level risk for high blood pressure and is strong and conclusive," he wrote in an article that accompanied Lucan's. Whatever. Wake us up when salt is our mortal enemy again.
[Ed: This blog post was created without any trace of "pinch of salt" puns thanks to the Partnership for a Pun-Free America]