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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Dec 8, 2020

A high-sodium diet is deadly, many scientists believe. Studies have linked it to high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks. It’s been estimated that excess sodium in the American diet causes as many as 100,000 deaths and many billions of dollars in avoidable healthcare costs each year. And yet salt is everywhere in our diets. Why hasn’t salt received the sort of public attention and regulatory action that sugar and fat have?

In this presentation with scientist and nutrition advocate Michael Jacobson, he investigated why salt seems to have slipped under the regulatory radar, with support from his book Salt Wars: The Battle Over the Biggest Killer in the American Diet. Joined in conversation by founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America Dr. Jim Krieger, Jacobson recounted the battles between public health advocates, food industries, and right-wing politicians. He examined how, despite an abundance of research going back more than half a century showing a multitude of high-sodium diet related ills, a few scientists argue the opposite is true, and have successfully fought government efforts to reduce what could be dangerous levels of sodium in our food. He advised us on how to reduce salt and calls on us to suit up for the next battle in the salt wars.

Michael F. Jacobson is Cofounder and Senior Scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He is the author or co-author of Restaurant ConfidentialSalt: The Forgotten KillerSix Arguments for a Greener Diet, and other books and pamphlets.

Jim Krieger, MD, MPH is founding Executive Director of Healthy Food America (HFA) and Clinical Professor at University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He is a nationally recognized expert in developing policy, systems and environment change methods to prevent obesity and chronic diseases.

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