Let’s hope for the sake of everyone’s health that the latest “thing” in New York City gets sprinkled all over the country.
The New York Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday to mandate that chain eateries put salt-shaker emblems on menu items showing dishes with more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. That would be about one teaspoon, The Associated Press report.
The average American takes in about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day. Most of it is from processed foods and meals from restaurants. Too much salt raises the risk of high blood pressure, water retention and heart attacks, the leading cause of death in the United States.
Most people don’t realize how much sodium in the form of salt they are consuming. Here are examples cited by The Associated Press: “A Panera Bread Smokehouse Turkey Panini (2,590 mg), TGI Friday's sesame jack chicken strips (2,700 mg), a regular-size Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'n Spinach Salad (2,990 mg) or a Subway footlong spicy Italian sub (2,980 mg). Even items that might not seem super-salty can be: A Red Robin monster-size salted caramel milkshake has 3,400 mg of sodium.”
Imagine what some Kansas City barbecue, soul food and steak restaurant menus would look like if the healthy trend in New York were to spread to the country’s bread basket.
Maybe in addition to salt-shaker symbols for such sodium-laden food items, menus should also have a slightly raised skull and crossbones stamp to stress the point of unhealthiness to people. There could even be footnotes that let people know how often they could eat such meals before experiencing serious irreversible problems.
Restaurants that value repeat customers would be wise to include such markings or change what they serve altogether. Imagine a New York trend like that spreading nationwide and how much better off people would be as a result.