Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Salt Shaker

The NYC Department of Health is cracking down, one ingredient at a time. Both the trans-fat ban and the most recent health regulation of caloric posting on menus made for lots of commotion. Nonetheless, both were victories for NYC, a city that seems to rapidly adjust to change.

So then why should salt be any different?

There's a bit more politics involved in this one, and critics think it might not be as successful. Firstly, it isn't about how heavy your hand is. The campaign against added sodium doesn't care if you're pinching a smidgin or shaking your entire arm over your plate. Instead, the NYCDOH hopes to reduce the amount of sodium in packaged foods and mass-produced restaurant meals. This is the hard part. Dr. Frieden, the commissioner of NYCDOH, says that "... a quiet, mass reduction in sodium levels — stealth health, they like to call it around the department — might be more effective."

Getting back to that adjusting to change thing... Americans would likely be shell-shocked if we cut salt out of these foods cold-turkey. This means that, unlike some of the other health initiatives that passed within a few years, the national salt-reduction initiative will take a lot longer, with hopes of reaching its completion within the next decade. Over this time period, officials believe people will become less accustomed to salty foods, which I do believe is a super load of salt shaking... I am not downplaying the FACT that salt leads to higher rates of heart attacks and strokes. It'll just be interesting to see what occurs down the line. Stay tuned in the news on this topic. For more information regarding the impact high sodium diets have on blood pressure and overall health, see here, (ARCH INTERN MED)

1 comment:

Scott W. said...

People would definitely notice if added salt were totally eradicated from their foods. The same cannot really materially be said about posting calories or banning trans fat oil use. The question is what's the incentive for McDonalds to stop salting its fries, or even getting Heinze ketchup to use less salt and perhaps even less corn syrup in its food as standard practice? People unfortunately crave salt. Heck, I'll even admit to liking salt, though not enough to add it to foods. I'd say the first major food types that should be gone after when it comes to salt are soups - often loaded with salt without justification!

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