Workers inspect salt at the Exportadora de Sal plant in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur in Mexico. A recent Institute of Medicine report on sodium intake seemed to contradict the latest dietary guidelines that had been issued, leading to controversy.
Both the AHA’s Brown and Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said they are troubled by some of the data used by the IOM committee and by the report’s potential effect on public perceptions of sodium.
Jacobson called it “a very poorly written, misleading report” and said the confusion resulting from it could last for years; he said that doubts raised could prevent the administration from taking steps to lower sodium intake.
While most of the attention on the report has been outside Congress, Harkin and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut said they think more research should be done on recommended sodium levels.
DeLauro, the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over health, said the IOM committee repeatedly referred to research gaps. It also outlined areas for further study.
“Quite frankly, what we ought to be doing in order to be accurate and to give people the best and the most sound advice is to look at increasing the dollars that we’re doing with regard to research,” she said.
For the time being, however, the controversy over the report’s interpretations is likely to remain.
“If somebody said to me, do you think you would have anticipated that this would have happened, I would say no,” Lichtenstein said.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.