The FDA has a new scapegoat — and the fallout could be deadly

I like to think that people are finally getting the message that sugar kills. (Whether they choose to do something with that information is another story.) So maybe it’s time to prepare myself to fight a new battle.

And this time, I’m going after salt. But as usual, the powers-that-be aren’t going to be too happy about it.

Why? Because unlike sugar, I’m prepared to fight in salt’s defense.

The fact is, you’re being led down the wrong path when it comes to sodium recommendations. And once again, the FDA is blazing the trail.

The agency recently launched a “gradual” and “voluntary” mission to lower the sodium content in processed and prepared foods. (At least they’re consistent when it comes to making half-hearted commitments.)

The goal, supposedly, is to help Americans get healthier. They’re pretty convinced that the science surrounding sodium reduction and health — specifically, reductions in blood pressure, and by association, heart disease and stroke — is crystal clear.

So by urging the public to slash salt intake, they think they’re going to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the next 10 years.

A totally bogus leap, to say the least. True, Americans consume a lot of salt — almost 50 percent more than the suggested intake, on average. (Due in no small part to our country’s fondness for packaged and processed foods.)

But the actual evidence against sodium is contradictory at best. (Some research even suggests that low salt intake increases heart attack and diabetes risk.)

Crusading against sugar would have a much bigger impact. The evidence that sugar kills is beyond debate at this point — but the FDA doesn’t have the guts to take on that heavily subsidized industry. And why bother when salt is such an easy target?

The newly released guidelines suggest lowering sodium content in more than 100 different foods. The goal is to limit Americans to 3,000 mg of sodium daily within two years. And to get them all the way down to 2,300 mg within a decade.

Never mind that studies show your body needs more sodium than that. (In fact, intakes as low as 2,300 mg per day can actually lead to kidney disease.)

As usual, the FDA refuses to acknowledge and accept the facts. And instead has just declared war on the most convenient dietary scapegoat du jour. (Once again, the wrong one.)

They’ve done this over and over again with the same result: failure. Our nation is sicker than ever.

And besides, even if the FDA were right (which they aren’t)…how many more people would be put in harm’s way while they give big businesses a whole decade to put out the fire they started?

These tactics make absolutely NO sense. But a long list of heavy hitters — from Nestle and Mars to General Mills — are already cutting salt out of their products. And the National Salt Reduction Initiative (yes, it’s official now) has commitments from 30 other companies to do the same.

I’m no fan of even the “healthiest” processed food. But this latest witch hunt is truly terrifying. And once more, all I can say is, “here we go again.”

Different food, different decade… same misguided and foolish approach.