Eat More Salt or Just Don’t Care

SaltYesterday, Aaron Carroll brought my attention to something over at The Incidental Economist, The CDC Is Now Making Me Go ARGH! As you may know, Carroll is a doctor, healthcare policy analyst, and all around good iconoclast. So you can depend upon him to tell you surprising things that also happen to be true.

In this case, it is that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans regarding intake of salt are totally wrong. The Center for Disease Control recently announced the very disturbing information that, “About 9 in 10 US children eat more sodium than recommended.” How much? 3.3 grams per day. And our dietary overlords have decided that the most we should eat is 2.3 grams per day. Oh! My! God! There must be kids in school cafeterias having heart attacks right there in front of the pizza bread or whatever it is we are feeding kids these days.

The problem is that the government guidelines are a crock:

Was it really that long ago that I wroterepeatedly — about how studies found that, yes, consuming more than 7 grams of sodium a day was really bad for you compared to consuming 3-6 grams? But that eating less than 3 grams was associated with even worse outcomes?

I don’t pay much attention to nutrition information. In addition to everything else, I really don’t want to live that long. The idea that I would make unpleasant changes to my diet for the sake of my health just seems stupid. I mean, what is the point of living a longer life if you aren’t enjoying the life? It would be one thing if eating more broccoli made me feel better the way that exercise does. But it doesn’t. I do still eat broccoli now and then because sometimes I’m in the mood for it. But I certainly don’t do it because it is good for me.

But this new information about salt just reinforces what I’ve always felt: what if tomorrow they tell me that broccoli is associated with early death? (Suicide, I’d assume.) Starting with my mother when I was as young as I can remember, I didn’t trust people who told me what was good for me. And at this point, I’ve lived far longer than anyone expected. So there!

Just the same, last week Aaron Carroll reported, Low Carb Crushes Low Fat. Screw You Guys! I’m Going Home. It turns out that recent studies indicate that people on low carbohydrate diets are much more healthy than people on low fat diets. I don’t know what my diet is. I seem to eat a lot of fats and a lot of carbohydrates. But there is absolutely no way I am going to change. Potatoes, bread, and rice are the three greatest foods ever (in that order) when combined with the fourth: butter.

In addition to all this, we still have the broccoli problem. If I stopped eating potatoes today (which would be absolutely impossible), what would stop Aaron Carroll from alerting me tomorrow that it turns out if you eat a lot of potatoes you will be dancing into your 120s, but broccoli is associated weak ankles and an early death? And for that matter, what would stop me from just killing myself today?

Let us eat and drink whatever the hell we want, for tomorrow we die!

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