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Salt Intake: Shall We Leave This Decision to Individuals or the Government?

In March 2010, I shared a news article about a proposed regulation in New York City that prohibits restaurants from adding salt on food. If it is passed, the City will issue a fine of $1,000 to those restaurants that are caught using salt. This CNN News video raised the same question: should the government regulate how much salt a restaurant can put on food in order to save the Americans from over-taking salt?

The restaurant industry is making good efforts in informing customers of the calories information on food. Many of them do not use saturated fat in cooking. After watching this video, I wonder how far we shall push the laws and regulations. In the future, will chefs no longer be allowed to use any seasoning in cooking? Let’s face it, too much sugar, too much salt, too much fat, … , basically, too much of anything is not good. Furthermore, will chefs be regulated with how much meat they can serve per meal or per menu item? What are your opinions?

Comments

  1. I have to admit I am one of those salt addicts that immediately grabs the saltshaker the second I sit down to a meal. But in the resent months where this issue has been brought up on the news and in the media I have really started to notice my bad habit. Like the video clip stated these company’s that over use salt is a way to enhance the flavor enough to have consumers crave it regularly and return on a frequent basis. This “ toxic food” has become what many of us have gained weight from and even become ill due to the effects it has on our bodies.
    In this case I feel that the restaurants and food industry as a whole need to start caring more about there customers then making the extra buck. Because this wont happen on its own I do agree that government needs to start regulating. This will benefit the consumer’s health and hopefully change the recent spike in salt related illnesses of the majority of this country.

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  2. As a nutrition and dietetics major I feel that eating foods high in sodium can cause a variety of health problems such as high blood pressure which can lead to a variety of life threatening diseases such as arteriosclerosis, aneurysm, heart disease, stroke, dementia and other cognitive impairments, kidney failure and many other ailments. However I feel that the government shouldn’t need to have the responsibility of physically changing the products that people eat and that they should focus more on nutrition education, as the government needs to make the public more aware of how much sodium they are eating. By facilitating this individual reform it would happen more quickly and would be healthier for the general population. This education could also not only be used to combat the large quantities of sodium consumed but also the obesity epidemic that this country is facing. If the government focuses on this in general nutrition they will be able to significantly decrease the health care needs this country faces as most diseases can be linked to nutrition.
    -Alyssa Rothschild

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  3. In your other blog regarding government control over what restaurants can or can not do, I didn't think they were really dictating. I had no idea that they were beginning to fine restaurants, to me that's over the edge. I agree that it is important to keep restaurants informed but by fining them, its like a crime to over salt something! I think it's better to inform both customers and restaurants by reaching out and educating them. Encouragement and making more restaurants that are following the trend of healthier meals is good. I just don't agree that restaurants being fined for making something tasty. Educate people, let them know what they are eating and what is in it.
    -Francisco Medrano

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  4. The government has the right to recommend limits as to how much salt a person consumes each day, however, I do not feel that they should be allowed to enforce this. It is up to the individual to follow or not follow these guidelines. I think it is great if restaurants try to decrease the added salt into their foods. With the new wave of healthier eating, this action could help promote their restaurant and increase their service, production and revenue. If the government did enforce a law about added salt, how far would they go? There are a lot of processed products that restaurants use that contain a large portion of sodium (stocks, sauces, condiments, etc.). Will the government control those products as well, stating limitations on how much of the product is used in the food or even limit the amount of sodium in that processed product?
    Carolyn Allen

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