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There's a sodium bomb in your milkshake

This Tuesday a new sodium warning requirement goes into effect in all New York City restaurants with 15 or more locations.

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From now on these restaurant chains will be required to display a salt shaker icon next to menu items or combo meals that contain more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium or more. The law also requires the restaurants to post a clearly visible statement warning customers that high sodium can increase blood pressure and heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that Americans consume less than 1,500 mg/day sodium, which is the level with the greatest effect on blood pressure.

To put this into perspective
in order to qualify for a salt shaker a food item must contain 1.5 times the daily recommended value, and that’s just for one (!) food item. Deputy health commissioner of New York, Sonia Angell — who is also a physician — says many people don't understand the link between excessive sodium intake, high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

The majority of salt in our diet doesn't come from the salt shaker — it's already in the food
This, according to Angell, includes restaurant food. "And that makes restaurants a really important place to give people guidance about how they might be making decisions — if they choose to do so — that might protect their health and their heart".
Robin Vitale, senior director of government relations at the AHA, cheered the health department's new requirement.

"The American Heart Association is thrilled for the pending implementation of the Sodium Warning Label rule," she said in a statement. "Americans are consuming dangerous levels of sodium, most often found in processed or restaurant food. This rule will help to increase transparency".

90% of American adults are expected to develop high blood pressure
This data was released in 2009 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Strongly linking eating too much sodium and developpement of hight blood pressure in an American's lifetime.

For these reasons and because the potential public health benefits of sodium reduction are significant and extend to all Americans, the AHA chose in 2010 to recommend that Americans eat less than 1,500 mg/day sodium as part of the definition of ideal cardiovascular health. This change of sodium level intake could result in a 25.6% overall decrease in blood pressure amongs the U.S. population !

A step in the right direction
Although this law is implemented only in New York, many states are predicted to follow.

My message to you ,
It cannot be stressed enough that we are what we eat, and that’s why it is so important that we know what we are putting into our bodies. Be aware, and be wise in your food choices!
Oh , and look out for that salt shaker!