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Warning labels could be coming for high-sodium restaurant items

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Waiter holding salty trayRestaurant foods are notorious for being high in salt, and almost 25 percent of the sodium in Americans’ diets comes from these foods. Most of that sodium is added by the restaurant or its ingredient supplier before it gets to your table, so it's outside of our control.

For many people, it's also probably outside of their knowledge. An American Heart Association survey found that 97 percent of people surveyed either underestimated or could not estimate how much sodium they eat each day.

New Proposal
But a new proposal from the New York City Department of Health aims to alert the City's restaurant customers to dishes that are especially heavy in sodium. The proposal would require items with 2,300 mg or more sodium - the amount in a full teaspoon of salt - to add a warning icon next to their listing on the menu. It would apply to all restaurants in New York City that have 15 or more locations nationwide.

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 healthy levels.

More Discussion to Come
There will be more discussion and a public comment period before the outcome of the proposed rule is final, but in the meantime, there are steps you can take to curb the excess salt while dining out. Just read our tips for reducing sodium in restaurants.

Read more about the NYC story on the American Heart Association blog, including comments on the proposal from CEO Nancy Brown.

Would you support warning labels on high-sodium restaurant items?

Would it help you make healthier choices?