In its latest salvo in the battle against unhealthy eating, New York City is requiring larger restaurant chains to mark food items high in sodium with a warning salt shaker label.
No one knows whether diners will take the hint and avoid super salty menu options, or “salt bombs” as some are calling them. But experts hope that the message that these food choices can be harmful even among healthy people with normal blood pressure levels may get people thinking.
The amount of sodium in some healthy sounding items may come as a surprise to many.
For example, Panera Bread’s Smokehouse Turkey Panini has 2,590 milligrams, or Applebee’s Grilled Shrimp ‘n Spinach Salad has 2,990 mg and each order of T.G.I. Friday’s Sesame Jack Chicken Strips has 2,700 mg.
That’s more than the daily recommended amount of sodium for most people, which is around 2,300 mg, says Bill Farquhar, a researcher in the department of kinesiology and applied physiology at the University of Delaware.
A study co-authored by Farquhar found that high salt consumption can silently damage blood vessels and major organs, including the kidneys, even when it doesn’t pump up blood pressure, according to the report published earlier this year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
“If you look at high salt conditions, blood vessels don’t dilate as well as they do under low sodium conditions,” Farquhar says. “And the ability to dilate is a marker of vascular health.”
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