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Anorak | Andy Burnham is the latest fool to wage war on salt and butter

Andy Burnham is the latest fool to wage war on salt and butter

by | 5th, January 2013

SHADOW health secretary Andy Burnham wants to ban foods that contain what he considers too much salt, fat and sugar. Of course, this being modern politics, Burnham soon dissembles and wants us to join the debate:

“Labour wants to lead this debate. That is why we are asking the public and experts if new limits for sugar, fats and salts would be the right approach. Like all parents, I have bought products like cereals and fruit drinks, marketed as more healthy, that contained higher sugar levels than expected. I don’t think that any parent would be comfortable with their child eating something that is 40 per cent sugar.”

Parents that worried might consider reading the ruddy label.

Professional dad and national father figure Burnham wants us to believe that health is bigger than enjoying your dinner. He knows best.

But it’s all based on what? In 2011, we read :

The Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) has published research indicating no significant change in the amount of salt consumed by people in Scotland since 2006…

In 2006 the Food Standards Agency introduced voluntary salt reductions for industry across 85 categories of food, for achievement by 2010. After consultation with the food industry, the FSA set more challenging targets for 2012. The revised targets reflect the progress made by industry and were set at levels intended to make a further real impact on consumers’ intakes.

Progress? Nothing changed. Consumers voted with their shakers; they just added more salt.

Maybe Salt Awareness Week 2013 “Less Salt Please” (11th 17th March) can save us?

CASH is pleased to announce that the14th National Salt Awareness Week will be held Monday 11th – Sunday 17th March 2013. We will be asking for ‘Less Salt Please’, showing how everybody, including chefs, can use less salt and still enjoy the great flavour of their food.

CASH? It’s the Consensus Action on Salt and Health:

CASH is successfully working to reach a consensus with the food industry and Government over the harmful effects of a high salt diet, and bring about a reduction in the amount of salt in processed foods as well as salt added to cooking, and the table. To date we have been successful with many supermarkets and food manufacturers choosing to adopt a policy of gradually reducing the salt content of their products, and a Government-financed a campaign to raise awareness of the effects of salt on health.

Is salt bad?

There is strong evidence that links our current high salt intakes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the main cause of strokes and a major cause of heart attacks and heart failures, the most common causes of death and illness in the world.

But not proof:

A large number of studies have been conducted, all of which support the concept that salt intake is the major factor increasing population blood pressure. The diversity and strength of the evidence is much greater than for other lifestyle factors – eg. weight reduction, lack of fruit and vegetable consumption, and lack of exercise. The evidence that links salt to blood pressure is as strong as that linking cigarette smoking to cancer and heart disease.

The major factor? Concept becomes evidence.

The British Medical Journal review of 2002 informed us :

‘Intensive interventions, unsuited to primary care or population prevention programmes, provide only small reductions in blood pressure and sodium excretion, and effects on deaths and cardiovascular events are unclear. Advice to reduce sodium intake may help people on antihypertensive drugs to stop their medication while maintaining good blood pressure control.”

The evidence is far from clear. Still, the experts know best.

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Posted: 5th, January 2013 | In: Politicians, The Consumer Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink