A Grain of Salt


A confession.

Yesterday, against my better judgment, I did something awful. Caught in a moment of weakness, perhaps even a moment of insanity, I engaged in behavior that horrified my family and would have given my doctor fits if he’d seen it. The shame burns, but I must admit the cause. My friends…I tried a KFC Double Down. And frankly, it was awful. The first bite was great…tender chicken, spicy mayo, melted cheese, and the bacon…oh, the bacon. Alas, subsequent bites were more disappointing and in the end…there was only salt.

So imagine my relief when I read this earlier today. The government may not have been there to prevent my transgression, but it will be there in the future to help tortured, salt-loving souls like me. Thank you, feds. Thank you.

The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.

“This is a 10-year program,” one source said. “This is not rolling off a log. We’re talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We’re talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people.”

Like Mary Katharine Ham, I’m disturbed by the statist sentiments in this story, even though I have good reason to sympathize with the government’s agenda here. A few years ago, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure was slightly high on a consistent basis. And by “slightly,” I mean 120/95. He advised me to start exercising and cut back on sodium. After six months of somewhat bland, salt-less food and consistent cardio exercise, he took my blood pressure again. The results? 115/90. Thanks, genetics!

Since then, I’ve been on blood pressure medication and I take steps to limit my sodium intake. I choose low-salt snacks and haven’t salted my food in months. Once in awhile, I do indulge (curse you, Double Down!) but for the most part, I follow my doctor’s orders and behave. As shocking as it may seem, the government played no part in my decision to pursue a low-sodium diet. I made the choice to cut back without any help from bureaucrats at the FDA. Imagine. Without help, I’ve made the choice that my health is important enough for me to change my behavior. No one is trying to reset my palate or set my sodium limits. I’m simply choosing to take responsibility for myself without asking anyone else to sacrifice on my behalf.

The Obama administration seems to think I should thank them for freeing me from the horrible burden of taking five seconds to glance at a product’s nutritional information before purchasing it. Unfortunately for them, I am not. Quite the opposite, in fact – I’m insulted by their assumption that I’m incapable of making those choices for myself. Odd. When the ‘right’ to abortion is at stake, liberals like to scream “my body, my choice.” Eating a bag of chips, though? Well, that’s almost sedition, isn’t it?

It’s pretty discouraging. In Obama’s America, killing a fetus is a right, but consuming sodium-rich foods is enough to instigate government regulation. At this point, I don’t know whether to weep or…well, weep. Thanks, 52 percenters, for making this possible.

I have to admit, though. The actions of the president you voted into office haven’t helped my blood pressure all that much.

Oh well, I guess Obamacare will take care of that.