The Grapevine

Counteracting High Salt Intake: NYC Proposes High-Sodium Warning Labels On Restaurant Menus

High Sodium Warnings
NYC Department of Health considers high sodium warning for chain restaurant menus. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg and his administration certainly did their part to combat this country’s growing obesity epidemic, which included a ban on trans fats and pushing all chain restaurants to post calorie counts for each menu option. Now Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration looks to continue the city’s health initiative by demanding that all chain restaurant menus indicate which meals are high in sodium.

"This doesn't change the food," Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, the city’s Health Commissioner, told The Associated Press. "It enables people to identify single items that have a level of salt that is extremely high."

On Wednesday, the NYC Department of Health will propose the measure to the Board of Health. If approved, all chain restaurants would be required to designate which menu options contain more than the recommended daily salt intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. Like Bloomberg’s move to require calorie counts on restaurant menus, de Blasio’s proposal is considered the first of its kind. Also like Bloomberg’s measure, de Blasio’s proposal has been met with waves of criticism.

"The composition of menus may soon have more warning labels than food products," Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association, told AP.

Although groups already panning the measure consider it overbearing, it’s interesting to note how lenient it actually is. The proposal would only require restaurants to designate menu options that exceed 2,300 milligrams of sodium compared to the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams per day. The AHA estimates that most Americans consume upward of 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. High sodium intake often leads to high blood pressure due to the retention of water, which can lead to various health complications, including heart failure, stroke, obesity, and kidney disease.

Luckily, there are proving methods for counteracting the effects of sodium by way of diet and exercise. One of the most common ways of dealing with high salt intake is by also increasing our water intake. Oddly enough, a good way to dilute the fluid sodium retains is by drinking more water. We can also try adding more potassium to our diet, which along with sodium helps manages the body’s balance of water. When all else fails, go outside and work up a sweat. Exercise not only pushes the excess fluid out of our bodies, but it also gets rid of excess sodium — a quart of sweat contains around 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Loading...