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Rethinking Salt & Things

11:51 AM, May 15, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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If you have been worrying that you consume too much salt, then you might want to give that one a rest.  As Gina Kolata reports in the New York Times:

In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.        

Next thing you know, they'll be telling us to disregard the food pyramid and that red wine is good for your health.

Still, there are things to worry over on the food front.  Seems that the ethanol mandate is not only an environmental loser, destroyer of small engines, and cause of higher food prices, it is also tainting our beef.

As Tom Philpot reports in Mother Jones:

Back in 2007, amid a boom in US corn-based ethanol, researchers at Kansas State University released a sobering study involving distillers grains—the mash that's left over after corn has been fermented and distilled into ethanol. As various government programs ramped up ethanol production—and with it the price of corn—the livestock industry was increasingly turning to distillers grains as a cheap corn substitute. But the Kansas researchers found that the stuff seemed to cause a spike in a particularly dangerous-to-humans form of E. coli in the cows' guts.

And:

Five to seven years ago, distillers grains brought in between 15 percent and 17 percent of revenue for ethanol makers. By 2012, the level had increased to up to 26 percent.

The takeaway: Don't sweat the salt; worry about the ethanol.

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