(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘salt

“Arguably the greatest technological triumph of the century has been the public-health system”*…


The car seat: one of the objects that shaped public health

Public health impacts all of us, in every corner of the globe, every day of our lives — not only our health and safety, but also how we live, what we wear, what we eat, what happens to our environment and the stewardship of our planet. For better or worse, these 100 objects have made their mark on public health. Some, such as vaccines, have helped keep us healthy. Others, including cigarettes, have made us sick. Some are surprising (horseshoe crabs?) and others make perfect sense (bicycle helmet). Some are relics from the past (spittoon) and others are products of our digital age (smartphone)…

In celebration of its centennial, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has compiled a list of the “100 Objects That Shaped Public Health.”

* “Arguably the greatest technological triumph of the century has been the public-health system, which is sophisticated preventive and investigative medicine organized around mostly low- and medium-tech equipment; … fully half of us are alive today because of the improvements.”
― Richard Rhodes, Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and the Human World


As we buckle our seat belts, we might send thoughtfully-seasoned birthday greetings to David Marine; he was born on this date in 1888.  A pathologist, he is best remembered for his trial, from 1917 to 1922, during which he supplemented the diets of Ohio schoolgirls with iodine, which greatly reduced their development of goiter— and led to the iodization of table salt (one of Johns Hopkins’ 100 Objects).



Written by LW

September 20, 2016 at 1:01 am

Salt of the Earth…

What’s going to become of health-care in the U.S. in the wake of partial “reform” and evaporating public funding, is anyone’s guess.  What’s more certain is that it’s prudent for one to take good care of oneself– to stay out of the system…

The Mayo Clinic reminds us that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg for those age 51 or older, or African-Americans, or those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

But the average American takes in about 3,400 milligrams of sodium every day.  And studies suggest that a high-sodium diet is linked to a host of ailments, including high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and exercise-induced asthma.

So it’s bracing (if not indeed shocking) to consider the salt content of restaurant meals…

P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles with Pork

7,900 milligrams sodium
1,652 calories
84 g fat (12 g saturated)

Sodium Equivalent = 23 Slabs of Hormel Canadian Style Bacon
Here are a few things with less salt than these sodium-sunk nefarious noodles: 239 Saltine crackers, 153 cups of Newman’s Butter popcorn, and 22 orders of McDonald’s large French fries…

Chili’s Fajita Quesadillas Beef With Rice and Beans, 4 flour tortillas, and condiments

6,390 milligrams sodium
2,240 calories
92 g fat (43.5 g saturated)
253 g carbohydrates

Sodium Equivalent = 194 Saltine Crackers
This confounding creation delivers nearly a dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts worth of calories, the sodium equivalent of 194 saltine crackers, and the saturated fat equivalent of 44 strips of bacon…

Applebee’s Weight Watchers Chipotle Lime Chicken

4,990 mg sodium
490 calories
12 g fat (2 g saturated)

Sodium Equivalent = 31 servings of Ruffles (that’s more than two “Family Size” bags!)
Avoiding salt at Applebee’s is nearly impossible. Not even the “healthy” selections pass muster. The six items on the Under 550 Calories menu average 2,341 mg of sodium per entree. The five items on the Weight Watchers menu average 2,448 mg…

27 other meals-to-miss at Eat This, Not That’s “30 Saltiest Foods in America.”

As we insist on at least two colors (not counting ketchup) on our plates, we might wish a juicy Happy Birthday to actress Shanelle Workman (Gray); she was born on this date in 1978.  While she’s probably most widely recognized for her role as Sarah “Flash” Roberts on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live (2003 and 2004), she is probably most widely heard as the voice of “Wendy” in commercials for the fast food chain.

Shanelle Workman Gray (source)


And they say that salt is bad for one’s heath…

In news likely to unsettle “young earthers”– the plurality of Americans who believe that the earth, and life on it, were created by God all at once about 10,000 years ago– scientists have discovered 34,000-year-old organisms…

It’s a tale that has all the trappings of a cult 1960s sci-fi movie: Scientists bring back ancient salt crystals, dug up from deep below Death Valley for climate research. The sparkling crystals are carefully packed away until, years later, a young, unknown researcher takes a second look at the 34,000-year-old crystals and discovers, trapped inside, something strange. Something … alive.

Thankfully this story doesn’t end with the destruction of the human race, but with a satisfied scientist finishing his Ph.D.

“It was actually a very big surprise to me,” said Brian Schubert, who discovered ancient bacteria living within tiny, fluid-filled chambers inside the salt crystals.

Salt crystals grow very quickly, imprisoning whatever happens to be floating — or living — nearby inside tiny bubbles just a few microns across, akin to naturally made, miniature snow-globes.

“It’s permanently sealed inside the salt, like little time capsules,” said Tim Lowenstein, a professor in the geology department at Binghamton University and Schubert’s advisor at the time…

The key to the microbes’ millennia-long survival may be their fellow captives — algae, of a group called Dunaliella.

“The most exciting part to me was when we were able to identify the Dunaliella cells in there,” Schubert said, “because there were hints that could be a food source.”

With the discovery of a potential energy source trapped alongside the bacteria, it has begun to emerge that, like an outlandish Dr. Seuss invention (hello, Who-ville), these tiny chambers could house entire, microscopic ecosystems…

The bacteria are the tiny, pin-prick-looking objects, dwarfed by the larger, spherical algal cells. The colored spots come from pigments the algae produce, carotenoids, still vibrant 30,000 years on.

Read the story in its entirety at OurAmazingPlanet.com; and read Shubert’s paper in the January 2011 issue of the journal of the Geological Society of America, GSA Today.

As we ponder the prospect of seasoning our popcorn, we might recall that it was on this date in 1809 that the first U.S. geology book of importance was read by William MacLure, a Scot who’d immigrated to the U.S. ten years earlier, before the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, Pa.  Observations on the Geology of the United States, which was published in revised form in 1817 and contained the first chart of United States territory that divided the land into rock types, was the first true geological map of any part of North America and one of the world’s earliest geological maps. (MacLure’s reading predated William Smith’s first geological map of England by six years.)



Salting it away…

Medical authorities recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day–  about 1,000 mg less than the average American actually ingests– lest one suffer high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and/or exercise-induced asthma.

From the folks at Rodale and Men’s Health, a cautionary guide to restaurant entrees across our heavily-salted nation: “30 Saltiest Foods in America.”  Number 1?  An offering that’s no slouch when it comes to calories and fat content, but that is an undisputed champion in the sodium sweepstakes:

P.F. Chang’s Wok Charred Beef
10,045 milligrams sodium
850 calories
30 g fat (15 g saturated)

Sodium Equivalent = 31 Slabs of Hormel Canadian Style Bacon
Here are a few things with less salt than this sodium-sunk beef blowout: 244 Saltine crackers, 40 bags of Funyuns, 175 cups of Newman’s Butter popcorn, and 28 orders of McDonald’s large French fries.

As we aspire to life above the salt, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that Alice B. Toklas moved in with– and became the life-long house mate of– Gertrude Stein.  Together, they turned their Parisian home at 22 rue de Fleurus into an artistic and literary salon, where they entertained Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, among many others.

Toklas and Stein in the Piazza San Marco, Venice  (source: Beinecke Library, Yale)

%d bloggers like this: