The Nanny State strikes again.
Every freedom-loving individual already knows that New York City is the Nanny State’s favorite lab rat.
Why, who can forget the bold War on Super Slurps? Or the The Great Battle of Bachelor Parties via strict regulation on tobacco, alcohol, gambling, fireworks and prostitution? Or, most heroic of all, when the NYPD protected the fine citizens of New York from unscrupulous “loosie”-slinging street-vending tax evaders?
As millions of Americans can attest, no help is quite as disastrous than when the government comes to the rescue. The problem abusive caretakers seem to keep running into, though, is that their victims tend to begin to abhor the abuse.
“New York,” a study by George Mason’s Mercatus Center found, “is by far the least free state in the nation. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9 percent of the state’s 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011 — the highest such figure in the nation.”
Today, we invite Nate Rifkin from our Healthquarters at Laissez Faire’s Living Well to the show to speak about the Nanny of New York and her latest dietary finger wag.
This time it’s about the salt.
Let’s get started…
Chris: Hey, Nate. Thanks for joining us. So, let’s just jump right in. What has the Big Apple been up to?
Nate Rifkin: Hello. Sure. So here are the deets:
Starting June 6th, New York City will require restaurants to post warnings about high-salt food items, or receive up to $600 in fines.
C: Heh. How did I know it was going to be something as petty as Salt Signs or Fines?
Hey, that’s actually a good billboard slogan.
Anyway… go on.
N: Right. So, current Mayor Bill de Blasio claims it’s a “common sense regulation” that will help New Yorkers make better choices and lead healthier lives.
On the surface, it seems so sensible. High salt’s bad. So make a new law warning people about salty foods. A little social engineering here… a little financial threat to businesses there… and presto!
Healthier people and more government revenue! It’s win-win.
That’s what they claim in their propaganda piece, which you can read by clicking here.
C: OK. So, for now at least, let’s put aside the idea of whether or not the government should even be engaged in social engineering.
Even though I’m pretty sure we all know the answer to that question.
First, are they even right on the science about salt?
N: Well, unlike most of the mouth-breathers who pushed this law through, I checked out the citations behind their claims.
They only include one that comes close to a scientific study. And it’s not.
Instead, it’s simply a review of the scientific literature by a committee. Here’s the link to it, by the way. As you can see, it was published in 2012.
It’s a shame they’re so far behind. Because just a year later, a large review of studies came out showing no health benefits to reducing your salt intake. The researchers also found that, for men and women with congestive heart failure, salt restriction actually increased the risk of death.
The government do-gooders also missed out on a study published just this year in a United Kingdom medical journal, on over 130,000 people in 49 countries. You can read the abstract here.
This one was better-designed than previous salt studies, which relied on people estimating what they ate and answering surveys. This one directly measured sodium excretion in urine. The premise being, those who excrete a certain amount every day ingest that amount on a daily basis.
C: Hmm… OK.
N: Yep. So, let me put things into perspective: The bureaucrats in New York want their denizens to keep their salt intake at 2.3 grams or less.
So here are the study results, as published by our friends on the other side of the pond: For folks without hypertension, daily sodium excretion in the range of 4-5 grams per day were not heart-health ticking timebombs.
Even though they were probably eating twice the maximum limit the overlords in New York are pushing for.
It gets better…
Over 7 grams per day wasn’t associated with a higher risk for high blood pressure either.
And now for the real punchline:
Under 3 grams per day was associated with… wait for it… a higher risk of higher systolic blood pressure.
C: If that’s true, I guess the New York City government is in favor of higher blood pressure. Or they’re a bunch of drooling asses.
Could be both.
N: Well, the plot thickens. This study also examined people with hypertension.
Their results were a little different. For them, excreting over 7 grams of sodium per day was indeed associated with increased blood pressure. However, 4-5 grams per day was not. And under 3 grams per day still came with a higher risk of higher systolic blood pressure!
So the only people who might want to consider lowering their salt intake are those who:
- Are already hypertensive
- Eat over 7 grams per day
Everyone else, don’t worry about your salt intake… unless you eat too little!
I wonder if de Blasio’s idiotic law will actually contribute to someone’s death? That is, if anyone actually pays attention to these insipid warning icons.
C: And let’s be real here. More likely, the only people the city’s worried about are the restaurant owners. As in, they hope the owners miss a slightly salty taco salad on the menu and have to cough up 600 bones.
Revenue enhancement, baby!
N: Yup. Also, unfortunately, most people in the health community play right into the politicians’ hands.
They protest (if they do at all) what’s being banned, instead of the banning itself.
And I really, really want to believe they mean well.
I can hear them now, declaring, “Yeah, this salt law is stupid! What they really should be regulating is…”
What? What should they ban? Sugar? Processed vegetable oil? Lousy bagels?
How about we ban every single product, behavior, or agreement between consenting adults that potentiates a risk for injury or death! That’ll solve our safety issues… much in the same way drowning our food in bleach would eliminate pathogens. Great idea.
Then the politicians loom over them, put on their best “I know what’s right for you” face, fire up their propaganda, and go through yet another iteration of the “Need mommy and daddy to protect you? We’ve got a law for that” song and dance.
There’s got to be a special circle of Hell for those fiends, where the only food available is soy-based and your only drink is tap water or soda.
C: That’d be a fitting punishment. Tofu, chemical water and bigger boobs for everyone, men and women alike.
As I mentioned earlier, this is far from the only example where New York City removes rights from its lab rats in order to change their behavior.
N: Right. Unfortunately, this latest salt law is only a drop in the bucket.
Although it seems like a stretch at first, it reminds me of New York City’s infamous “Stop and Frisk” social engineering policy.
Stop and Frisk is just like it sounds. Police can stop you on the street, question you, and search you for weapons or drugs. All without an arrest warrant.
According to Cornell, it’s “A brief, non-intrusive, police stop of a suspect.” And apparently it complies to the fourth amendment requiring reasonable suspicion. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge and 34,450 licensed-to-fondle police to sell you.
Mayor de Blasio likes to brag that, under his leadership, “stop and frisk” has gone down. Specifically, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, it went from a high of 685,724 stops in 2011 (when Bloomberg reigned) to just 22,939 in 2015.
Think about that. Over half a million people violated by the police in just one year.
Patting Blasio on the back for the reduction is like praising someone for only groping two women on his way to work on a particular day, instead of his previous record of sixty.
It gets even more twisted.
In 2010, 74 frisks had to be carried out in order for cops to find one illegal gun.
In 2014, a mere 28 frisky gropes were required to recover one gun.
So someone kept track of these statistics and then trumpeted them like some sort of success. People actually believe this is progress.
“Hey, we’re violating rights, but we’re getting more efficient at it!”
Although their “War on Salt” isn’t nearly as blatant, it’s in the same vein. And people tolerate it. They shrug their shoulders, switch off their critical thinking, and sacrifice liberty for the illusion of safety.
If only they could take a cue from Nietzsche: “For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously!”
C: Yes! I think people suffering from severe boredom are more a threat to society than the guy brandishing the salt shaker out in public.
So, what’s most idiotic about this new salt law is it could be coming for chip bowls all across the Land of the Free, am I right?
N: Right. And it’s possible. The FDA has already issued draft guidance for voluntary sodium reduction in the food industry.
Ah, voluntary. A nice, cozy tepid temperature before they turn up the heat on the frogs in the pot. Here’s the link. Their short-term goal is to get sodium consumption down to just 3 grams per day — the exact lower limit before health problems emerge.
I’d call them sociopaths instead of just mere idiots… but I’m still trying to figure out what their angle is, on this effort in particular.
Who benefits financially from regulations for lower salt? Interesting question.
C: Indeed. It’s all about incentives. Follow the money.
One last question, because I know you wanted to leave us with a few solutions you’ve uncovered in the lab.
What are better ways for New Yorkers — and the world — to maintain healthy blood pressure?
N: Yes. In fact, lowering salt intake wouldn’t even be on my list because of the increased mortality risk. Call me crazy, but I don’t think healthier blood pressure is worth dying for.
Instead, look into upping your potassium, found in bananas…
Or maybe you’re hypertensive and want to drop your blood pressure by tomorrow? Gulp down some beetroot juice.
I’d be remiss, of course, if I didn’t mention Living Well’s own VitaOlive, which is fantastic for supporting blood pressure.
And, oh yeah, blood pressure is just one factor of heart health. There’s another that flies completely under most people’s radars, and you can discover what it is by clicking here.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Links and sources, courtesy of Nate: