Salt Shakedown

Perhaps you’ve heard some recent news about sodium — it seems to be the topic of 2010 (at least so far). And it’s certainly creating a stir here in New York City.

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Health Department decided to take on salt as the next food additive to reduce in our food (he already won the war on trans fats), in an effort to make us a healthier nation. Bloomberg proposes that the food industry (restaurants and food manufacturers) reduce the amount of sodium in a variety of food products. The goal is to cut the nation’s salt intake by 25% over five years. And just yesterday a new study came out in The New England Journal of Medicine that lowering salt intake can reduce the cases of certain diseases.

Why is sodium such a big deal? Most people take in way too much of it (3000-5000 mg per day instead of the recommended 1500-2300 mg per day), and it can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, calcium loss and osteoporosis, kidney disease, and more. In fact, salt plays such a big role in our health that it can actually lead to weight gain. Recently, the Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, identical twin dietitians, wrote The Secret to Skinny (which I contributed to!), which is all about how salt affects your weight and what you can do about it.

What do you think about Bloomberg’s campain to reduce salt?

6 responses to “Salt Shakedown

  1. My feelings about sodium have gone back and forth- I actually just blogged about this issue too! While the NYC initiative is good- nothing bad in trying to get people to eat less sodium- I think that resources and efforts should, instead, be placed in reducing obesity, making fruits and veggies more affordable, etc. Not everyone is affected by sodium (salt-sensitive), the research re: direct role of sodium and heart disease is lacking, and a focus on just sodium may be taking away the focus from other factors that can affect blood pressure, and can lead to heart disease (obesity, physical activity, other dietary factors, stress).
    So… while I think that it’s not as simple as asking the food industry to lower sodium in foods (btw- voluntary reduction are not always successful- they should make these reductions mandatory)- it’s a first step in the right direction…
    Thanks for your post!

    • nutritioulicious

      Hi Sybil! Thanks for your comment. I just read your great post on salt as well. ! agree that the bigger issue is reducing obesity, increasing consumption of fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc. but hopefully this is just another step in the right direction. And hopefully it is also one more effort that will get people to come to dietitians for help!

  2. I’ll definitely check out that link–I have been noticing that my wedding rings are tight lately and I haven’t gained any weight–I know I must be retaining water from too much sodium. Yikes!

  3. I like your advice to reduce packaged/processed foods, Jessica. If we do that, we probably don’t really need to be concerned about salt intake at all. And we’ll get lots of other benefits, too, not the least of which is good nutrition and lower food costs.

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