Canadians are struggling under the burden of preventable nutritional disease. Health Canada recently announced proposed front of package labelling regarding salt, sugar and saturated fat. Population-wide nutritional policies must be backed by strong and consistent scientific evidence. In the case of salt and saturated fats, the data does not support these recommendations;
Recent studies all concluded that a moderate amount (3-5g daily) of sodium is an optimal, population-wide recommendation. Below this amount, an increased risk of disease and death is seen. There is no data showing that reducing sodium intake below 3 g/day in entire populations is effective or safe;
Saturated fats were condemned in the 1950s based on weak and unreliable data. The evidence since then has failed to support the diet-heart hypothesis. Limiting saturated fats may cause harm: the largest observational study to date found low consumption of saturated fats was associated with higher rates of mortality and stroke; and
Good science is the best way to inform public health policy. The potential harm to Canadians by enacting these warning labels should be a cause for grave concern.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Health to:
1) Abandon front of package labelling and warnings on salt and saturated fat;
2) End the reliance upon the US Dietary Guidelines, deemed to “lack scientific rigour" by National Academies of Science; and
3) Conduct an independent scientific review of Health Canada's 'Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance' and the proposed Guide changes by an impartial scientific committee.
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