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New York City’s Salt Crack Down

Posted on 12/3/2015

Next time you’re in New York City, you may see something foreign on chain restaurant menus…a symbol of a saltshaker on items high in sodium. 

High sodium items are considered more than the day’s recommended sodium intake – 2,300 milligrams (approximately 1 teaspoon) is what medical professionals suggest consuming no more sodium than that in a day.

NYC Health Salt Shaker Symbol

The new symbol began appearing in eateries effective December 1st, however the city won’t start collecting fines of $200 until March 1, 2016. 

Health and medical experts say we as a country consume way too much salt, which in turn accounts for increased risk for high blood pressure and heart problems. Those in turn can then wreck havoc on one’s kidney’s and eyesight too. 

In fact, the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Public health advocates have applauded this measure as being a smart step in the right direction to make people aware about how much sodium they are ordering. 

In recent years, NYC has been a public health trailblazer in causes under the former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, from banning trans fats from restaurant menus to forcing chain restaurants to posting calorie counts on menus. This is the next step in helping to create a more transparent environment -- and the first for the current Mayor Bill de Blasio -- so citizens can make a more informed and healthier decision when dining out. 

What’s all the fuss?
Don’t think it’s necessary to warn diners of potentially high sodium items on menus? Well, get a load of these sodium levels according to their company’s nutritional information and you decide: 

  • T.G.I. Friday’s New York cheddar and bacon burger has 4,280 milligrams;
  • Chili’s boneless Buffalo chicken salad has 3,460 milligrams;
  • Dunkin' Donuts, a salt bagel contains 3,380 milligrams;
  • Panera Bread, Italian combo sandwich has 2,830 milligrams;
  • Subway, foot-long spicy Italian sub contains 2,980 milligrams;
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken, family-sized popcorn nuggets has 4,670 milligrams;
  • Olive Garden, tour of Italy contains 3,250 milligrams;
  • Applebee’s, New England fish & chips has 4,180 milligrams;
  • Cheesecake Factory, Hibachi Steak contains 3,720 milligrams. 

It’s important to note that the warnings won’t appear at so-called “mom and pop” establishments, rather outlets of chains with at least 15 outlets nationwide, according to the New York City Health Department. These chains do about one-third of the city’s restaurant business. And, salt warnings will apply to an estimated 10 percent of menu items in those types of restaurants.

The take away
Reducing one’s sodium intake is necessary in order to prevent and manage conditions such as high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases. The new warning is a great symbol for NYC to identify high sodium items on chain restaurant menus. This, in my opinion, is a great first step to help make people aware of sodium levels and the importance it has on one’s health. Perhaps we will see other cities follow suit. It will definitely get people talking and thinking, that’s for sure! 

What you can do
Read labels and know how much sodium you are consuming. Too much of anything is never a good thing! 

Another option is to look to Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating sodium restricted meals for convenience and peace of mind knowing you are not going to exceed the daily recommendations for sodium of 2,300 milligrams (or about 1 teaspoon). Our meals are perfectly portioned and sodium levels are as follows: 

  • 1,200-calorie traditional plan: 1,498 milligrams
  • 2,000-calorie traditional plan: 2,290 milligrams
  • 1,500-calorie vegetarian plan: 1,920 milligrams

Oh, and did I mention, our freshly prepared meals taste great? What are you waiting for, visit seattlesutton.com or give us a toll-



Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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