Old standards still the best

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: “Our role is to develop the best recommendations based on best evidence; we count on Health Canada to consider this evidence and implement it in such a way that improves Canadian’s heart health."  

That is a statement from Dr. Ross Feldman, spokesperson for Hypertension Canada. This statement was part of a release for new sodium recommendations which come into effect in January, 2014. “After much discussion, it was decided to raise the limit of sodium intake from 1,500 mg/day to 2,000 or approximately one teaspoon.”

The question is, what was wrong with the old standards? Ask yourself this. Is consuming 2,000 mg/day of sodium better for your health than1,500 a day? They are saying it is. The truth is the companies that produce the foods that most people eat —from cans, from boxes, from restaurants of all sorts — cannot meet the basic health requirements for consumers on sodium intake. That 33.3 per cent increase should never happen.

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, at present the maximum or upper limit of sodium is 2,300 mg/day. If the new recommended sodium limit is moved to 2,000 in January 2014, it makes perfect sense that the maximum limit of 2,300 will have to rise. Nothing has been said about this aspect.

This month a particular can of soup with 480 mg/day of sodium contains 20 per cent of the daily recommended amount based on the current 2,300 maximum/day. If the maximum limit were set to, say, 3,400 mg/day that label on that same can of soup would read 14 per cent and, additionally there would still be no change in the amount of sodium per serving.

The soup that I am speaking of carries with it a “health check” stamp although it has much too much sodium in each serving at 20 per cent – a ratio of about 5:1 to calories. How did that can of soup get a “health check” sign? In my mind, at least, this is not a healthy product. I think I smell a rat!

D. C. Campbell,

Charlottetown

Organizations: Health Canada, Hypertension Canada

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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