Eating Well

Restaurants Still Serve Way Too Much Salt

It’s been a few years since health experts called out restaurant food for its dangerously high salt content, and yes, some restaurants have responded with low-sodium options. But most, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, continue to over salt food. BY A LOT.  A University of Michigan news release reports that when researchers at the school examined menu items from 66 of the top 100 chain restaurants, they found that overall, sodium content of newly introduced menu items declined by about 104 milligrams, but when it came to existing and new main-course items, the average sodium content of a single menu item is still more than half of the daily sodium recommended limit of 2,300 mg.  When researchers compared sodium content in items available in 2012 to new items added in each of the next four years, they found that full-service restaurants showed the largest reduction in sodium on new items (163 mg), followed by fast-food (83 mg) and fast-casual (19 mg) eateries.  The researchers point out that the average American consumes more than 3,700 mg of sodium a day, and the excess has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Health experts have determined that a 1,200 mg drop in daily sodium intake could save as many as 92,000 lives and up to $25 million in health care costs annually. Previous research has shown that 80 percent of our sodium consumption is from eating food prepared outside of the home. Studies also have found that one-third of adults and children eat fast food every day and nearly half of all food purchases are outside of the home.

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