Too often we’ve had to live through mistaken government advice on diet.  Now, scientists are coming forward to ask that dietary experts stop misleading people into thinking that they need add or eliminate one thing in their lives for optimal health.

“The time has come to stop focusing on food components and start focusing on whole foods and whole diets,” writes Dr. Sean C. Lucan, a family physician in New York City, in a blog post in Huffington Post.

New York City’s Board of Health recently voted to require restaurants to put salt warnings on menus even though the science on salt consumption and cardiovascular disease is not yet settled.

As Lucan points out, “just because A (sodium) leads to B (blood pressure) and B (blood pressure) leads to C (heart disease) does not mean A (sodium) necessarily leads to C (heart disease).”

What the public health activists and the news media often overlook is that sodium is essential for the body to function properly and not consuming enough is dangerous.  The same is true of sugars and fats. Too much is not good either of course, but activists in public health want to draw the line now without waiting for conclusive evidence.

“People with even low-normal sodium levels in their blood are at greater risk of death from heart attacks and stoke,” states Lucan.

He warns that continued focus on “isolated menu constituents,” particularly sodium, is likely to produce the exact opposite effects of those intended.

“What we need is initiatives that are worth their salt,” he says.

In other words, let’s not jump to conclusions like the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees (DGAC) did when they told the American public to stay away from fat and cholesterol-laden foods, erroneous dietary advice that unfortunately millions of Americans followed for years. Let’s rely on solid science from now on so history does not repeat itself.

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