I'm glad to see the newer studies on sodium and diet getting coverage in the mainstream news media. Time reports on this stunning new research, which suggests (along with many other new studies) salt isn't the bad actor it's been made out to be when it comes to hypertension:
Sodium has long been labeled the blood-pressure bogeyman. But are we giving salt a fair shake?
A new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension analyzed data from 8,670 French adults and found that salt consumption wasn’t associated with systolic blood pressure in either men or women after controlling for factors like age.
Why not? One explanation, the authors write, is that the link we all assume between salt and blood pressure is “overstated” and “more complex than once believed.” It should be noted, however, that even though the study found no statistically significant association between blood pressure and sodium in the diet, those patients who were hypertensive consumed significantly more salt than those without hypertension—suggesting, as other research has, that salt affects people differently.
The last line is important because it points to a trend we've seen in the newer research on sodium's impact on human health: the science isn't settled on this topic. More research is warranted. Yet, the FDA is continuing to pursue regulations on the food industry–creating "voluntary" guidelines for the industry to reduce the sodium content in processed foods. I wrote about this last month in Forbes and I warned consumers that obedience to these “voluntary” guidelines will come at a cost — specifically higher prices at the grocery store and in restaurants as companies are forced to invest more in research, testing and product development. The regulations will hit local and mom-and-pop brands particularly hard, as smaller manufactures simply don't have the resources to comply.
I also noted in my Forbes piece that one industry executive speculated that food companies would face “tens of millions of dollars” in added costs.
So, who do you think pays these costs? The manufacturer? Sure, up front, but manufactures will simply charge consumers more at the back end. That means, ultimately, you and I pay the price for unnecessary regulations—which won’t lead to healthier Americans. Thanks for nothing FDA.