Is it a good idea for government to issue health warnings without all the facts? New York City thinks so, say some health experts.
The New York City Board of Health is requiring restaurants to place salt shaker symbols on menus pointing out which dishes contain more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The order comes after former New York City Mayor Bloomberg tried to force restaurants to abide by a limit on salt in dishes, sparking an uprising among city chefs.
However, this latest regulation comes amid new research that casts doubt on the U.S. government’s recommendations on salt consumption. Experts are saying we should hold off until all the science is in.
“When will public health agencies learn that focusing of food constituents leads to unintended and unhealthy consequences?,” asks Dr. Sean Lucan, a practicing family physician and an associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in an article on Linkedin.
“Even ignoring debates about sodium’s relation to heart disease, the move to label is likely to cause harm.”
We all know now how dietary advice has been wrong in ways because government’s did not consider all the evidence. For years U.S. dietary experts pushed low-fat diets and avoidance of foods with cholesterol, only to admit recently that many saturated fats are good for you and foods high in cholesterol like eggs do not raise cholesterol levels in the body.
Sodium is an essential requirement for the human body; consuming too little can be harmful as well as consuming too much, say experts. Human nutrition is complex and we can’t simplify nutrition recommendations for the entire American population by singling out “good” and “bad” foods or nutrients. Instead, the government should consider and evaluate all the science that is available before it makes broad-based bans or limits.