Monday, 9 May 2011

The salt demon

Modern governments have an uncanny ability to know what’s best for us don’t they? I’m always profoundly astonished by the ease with which they untangle the most fiendishly complex scientific issues with enough clarity to hand down official and perfectly definitive advice.

Take dietary salt for example. I’ve done some research into this issue and believe me, it’s complex and even somewhat contradictory. Even so, we are advised by the UK government that six grams a day is the maximum any adult should consume. Presumably six grams is correct whether you are 45 kilos in weight or 135 kilos, which I find surprising, because in terms of grams of salt per kilo of weight, the 45 kilo person is taking on board three times as much salt as the 135 kilo person. So will the heavy person consume too little salt or the light person too much? Or is a factor of three not important enough to worry about? And does that mean the advice isn't accurate enough to be worth giving anyway? Who knows? 

It’s all a bit of a puzzle isn’t it? Especially when you consider how easy it is to cast a reasonable pall of doubt over a blanket figure of six grams per day. I did it using a technique known as common sense.

I like a sprinkling of salt on my food, so I think I’ll keep on with it. No doubt it is possible to consume more salt than is good for you, but I don’t know what my salt intake is anyway and neither does HMG. Not that I’m saying you should ignore their advice, after all, I’m not the government. The only advantage I have over HMG is a sprinkling of common sense and that’s not nearly enough to sway anybody, is it?

No comments: