There are several phrases in common use today that talk about that harmless table condiment Salt. Peoples stories are sometimes ‘not worth a grain of salt’. Others are referred to as ‘the salt of the earth’. Clearly one phrase is a detrimental comment, the other a very complementary one.

Salt has been with us for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years. It is found land locked deep below the earth, and it is a key component in the oceans.

Salt just may be the first excito-toxin found by man. It makes food taste better. It is natures version of MSG. In fact a major ingredient of MSG is salt.

In the Middle Ages salt was a very rare and therefore expensive commodity, the realm of the rich only. The term ‘below the salt’ became a definition of a persons standing within the feudal system. Only those easting at the top table of the castle had access to the salt, everyone else was below the salt.

Times have changed, there are huge deposits of salt worldwide.. It is so plentiful and cheap that we think nothing of using huge amounts of it to thaw out icy roads.

We also use a great deal of salt in modern food. Oh I am not talking about the pinch or two that we add during the cooking process, or the pinch or two that we add to the finished product. I am talking about the salt already in almost every packaged product.

Salt is everywhere. The food industry rarely names salt as an ingredient, preferring the more lofty sounding term ‘sodium’.

There is very little praise I can heap on the FDA, this federally funded body is much like the FCC. They are merely mouthpieces for the industries they ‘regulate’. To view them as acting in the interests of consumers is largely a myth. However I will grudgingly give them some credit for forcing food product manufactures into a labeling system. Almost every product you pick up in the local megamart has a list of the ingredients and also a list of RDA’s, that stands for recommended daily allowances. There are severe problems with both lists, but I want to discuss just the RDA list.

There are 5 categories that ‘must’ be covered Protein, Carbohydrate, Sodium, blah blah

The data is listed as a percentage of a persons daily requirements based on a 2000 calorie diet. A quick excursion into the kitchen cabinets revealed that a couple of 10 cent Ramen Noodle packages, washed down with a can of condensed cream of chicken soup would give me about 150% of the sodium I needed. The bigger problem I saw was that this diet was sadly lacking in proteins and carbohydrates.

But how much is enough? Where do you draw the line between flavor and something more dangerous?

Like many ingredients in packed foods salt is hidden, The most usual cover is in the term Sodium.

Salt is going to be one of the subjects discussed on our regular Surviving The 21st Century radio program on Saturday Oct/9 at 1pm eastern.

I spent a good deal of time yesterday on the phone with my fellow panelists Mannie Barling and Ashley Brooks. They both had much to say about that harmless table condiment. For years I have heard chefs talk about the difference in flavor between Sea Salt and Table Salt. My take on it was, well it is all salt, who cares if it comes from the oceans or from the salt mines of Siberia?

Apparently I am wrong! There is a very big difference. I do hope that you will join us on Saturday. The listen live link is here.

Simon Barrett

Emanuel Barling, Jr., Esq. and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N. authors of Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world. The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault! Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction will be available for the 2010 holidays.

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