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Higher Sodium Restaurant Dishes Get a Salt Shaker Icon in NYC

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CTT-NYCemailToday, the New York City Board of Health made an historic decision. The City voted unanimously today to require certain restaurants to warn diners with a salt shaker icon on the menu when any food item has more than 2,300 mg of sodium. According to federal nutrition recommendations, 2,300 mg is the maximum amount of sodium that a person should eat in an entire day. If someone is getting that much sodium in just one meal, it sets that person up to be well above recommended levels.

Thanks @NYCHealthy for standing up against #SneakySalt! AHA sodium pledgers support the #Sodium Warning icon and NYC's #BreakUpWithSalt

Most Americans consume an average of nearly 3,500 mg sodium/day, which is more than 1,000 mg more than any public health group recommends. It is important for all Americans to have the tools they need to bring their consumption down to moderate, reasonable levels.

Almost 25 percent of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from restaurant foods.

Most of that sodium is added by the restaurant or its ingredient supplier before it gets to your table. In fact, a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate food from restaurants consumed more calories, fat, and sodium compared to those people who ate homemade meals. And, it didn’t matter whether that restaurant was a fast food or full-service establishment.

We deserve the right to choose how much sodium we eat.

However, that decision is often being made for us by the food industry in some restaurant and prepackaged foods. Too much sodium in the diet can impact your health by increasing your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Reducing sodium to moderate, healthy levels requires action and partnership at all levels—individuals, healthcare providers, schools, professional organizations, public health agencies, governments, and industry. This policy addresses an urgent crisis. Reducing sodium intake can save money, save lives, and improve heart health.

We want you to join us in calling on restaurants and the food industry to continue to improve the nutritional quality of their products.

And, let’s urge other communities to follow New York City’s example and implement sodium warning labels on menu items. This will ultimately empower and educate Americans, and help save lives.

And, the next time you find yourself in a restaurant, follow these tips:

  • Ask for your dish to be prepared without extra salt.
  • Before adding salt, try adding freshly ground black pepper or a squeeze of fresh citrus.
  • Choose steamed, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods, as these choices may have less sodium.
  • Grab a to-go box when you order and place half the meal in the box to eat later. When you cut calories, you usually cut the sodium too.
  • Ask for the nutrition information of your meal.

Will you ask restaurants to put less salt in their food? Let us know in the comments!