Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On European Mountain Goats and Michelle Obama

A friend sent me these incredible photos of a dam in Italy, and the mountain goats (more properly European Ibex) on the shear walls.  These goats scramble across the walls in search of lichen and salt.  I guess you could say they've taken a likin' to it...

Now I'm not a hunter, but as a hiker and backwoods wanderer, I know that there are natural salt licks - places where animals gather to get salt.  I know that hunters will leave salt blocks as a means to gather deer or other animals, and to acclimate them to a certain area.  Mammals have a feedback mechanism that makes them crave salt when they are low in it, and it's my belief that there could be a correlation between these urges for salt and deficiency in other minerals that might naturally occur with it: perhaps magnesium or potassium, phosphorus or zinc.

I've been reporting for just about a year now about the's attempts to control your salt consumption, including the stunning Fed argument that you have no fundamental right to eat what you'd like.  Reducing salt use is one of Michelle Obama's signature issues.  You have the idiotic mayor of New York City spending $300,000 on a campaign to tell you there's salt in canned soup. Should we cut salt consumption because they say so?

Let me jump to the important conclusion (with italics added tonight):
Did you get that?  This Doctor, President of the American Society of Hypertension, said that we don't even know that if we tell the public to cut their salt consumption that it won't hurt them.  So the can't even say, "cut your sodium because even if it doesn't help blood pressure, at least it won't hurt you"; we don't know that.  But the FDA is going to do it anyway.   Michael Alderman, President of the American Society of Hypertension, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Br Med J 1997; 315: 484-5  

So what's going on here?  By reporting in the press, Americans typically consume about 1500 mg of salt a day.  By analysis of my diet, I know I consume about 1/5 of that.  I have no aversion to salt, don't try to restrict it for any medical reason, I just don't use a lot of it. Could it be that people crave salt for the same reason those goats do? 

Don't those goats on the nearly-vertical wall of that dam know that the US is concerned about them eating too much dam salt? 

I don't have an answer, but just like I know study after study has shown fat people often eat less than "normal" people, I know there are powerful feedback loops in the body.  Could it be the American taste for salt is not because "they like it" but because American food is low in magnesium or calcium or phosphorus - or something - and our feedback system says to eat salt because salt licks often contain those minerals?  Is it that we tend to eat muscle tissue and not livers and other sources predators typically eat?  Is there a physiological explanation for the desire for salt?

Whatever happened to "keep your laws off my body"?  Or does that only apply to uteri?


  1. I shouldn't have to salt my soup.

  2. Tres smart post, once again. My wife is rapidly becoming an expert in minerals and herbals and things of that nature and she says the same thing. If you crave something (besides sugar) then there's a good bet that your body has made the connection between that flavor/food and something that it needs.

    Its not just the US .gov - the World Health Organization wants in on the action as well. They have a group called Codex Alimentarius that is bound and determined to tell everyone on the planet how and what to eat. And the bad part is that their "recommendations" go against just about every scrap of wisdom or lore that the human race has pieced together over our thousands of years roaming this planet. Just wait until that global governance UN nonsense kicks in - then we'll get mass starvation and dieoff from nutritional deficiency diseases. But then again, the goal is a world population of 500,000,000 or less - right?

  3. ...and whatever happened to PROMOTE the general welfare, not ENFORCE?

  4. According to leftism the government has the power to regulate, prohibit, or require any aspect of the health care process except for abortion, which must be available on demand for free.

    Health care counts as interstate commerce, so they can force you to buy an insurance policy (only it's not an insurance policy, since they can't turn you down). Abortion is covered by the Constitutional right to privacy and is therefore not allowed to be banned.

    Eating is completely different; it has nothing to do with privacy. Everyone knows that food comes from grocery stores - which are both public and commercial - so they are 100% open for regulation.

  5. Unfortunately, Xenocles, it doesn't stop at the grocery store. Due to the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510, HR.875), what you grow in your own garden is now capable of being regulated by the FDA. Even if you have no intention of doing anything with that garden beyond consuming it yourself.