High Sodium Warning Labels…NYC’s Latest Public Health Policy

Sodium Warning Label

In just one month’s time, this warning label will be seen on New York City restaurant menus to alert customers to meals that contain more than a day’s worth of sodium. I recently blogged about New York’s latest public health policy triumph on the American Society for Nutrition’s website. Here’s a link to the blog:




RFF#92 – 73% of products in India do not disclose sodium content on their food label

In North America we often take it for granted that we can just turn over a product and read its Nutrition Facts table.


Though people often hate on the Nutrition Facts table–accusing it of being confusing and archaic–it’s easy to forget how privileged we are to simply have that information available to us.

I learned about this fact from: Sampath, Janani. “Doctors Push for Sodium Levels on Food Labels” The Time of India, May 18th 2014. And thanks to Google alert, for alerting me to this fact!

RFF#60 – The name “Salzberg” literally means “salt castle”

There are two potential explanations behind this name. Some sources say the city was named because of its salt mines, while others suggest that it was named because the barges that carried salt along the Salzach river were charged a toll at Salzberg.

I learned about this fact from: Burt Wolf’s “Travels and Traditions” which aired on WNED Saturday  August 17th 2013.

RFF#37 – Some people are salt resistant, therefore unlike most people, salt doesn’t raise their blood pressure

Those of you who know me might be shocked to hear me say this. But it is indeed a fact. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that those are who “salt resistant” don’t have to worry about their salt consumption. For starters, the adverse effects of salt go beyond its ability to raise blood pressure. There is some evidence to suggest that salt intake increases risk for gastric cancer, and salt is even an indirect contributor to obesity (because it makes you thirsty, and if you’re satisfying your thirst with caloric beverages, this could be a problem).

Furthermore, most salty food is processed, so even if you’re salt resistant, the other adverse effects of those foods will probably get you in some other way. Not to mention, salt makes food hyper-palatable (translation: super tasty), and more salt means more cravings. So whether you’re salt resistant or not, the take home message is still the same, excessive sodium consumption is bad, and it’s something we all need to work on.

I learned about this fact from: Strom et al. Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence. Institute of Medicine, 2013.

RFF #21 – The amount of salt in a McDonald’s BigMac varies depending on the country you’re in

It’s kind of interesting to think that the BigMac is consumed across the globe. Nevertheless, the BigMac you get in Canada, Greece or the UK isn’t exactly the same. As a matter of fact, when it comes to salt, there can be big differences. I took a look at the salt level in a variety of BigMacs from around the world, the countries I chose were completely random (as the name of this blog suggests). Here’s a comparison of the salt level in various countries:




Greece -2.3g

United Kingdom-2.1g


I didn’t check every country, but it’s quite interesting to note that of the countries I chose, Canada ranks highest.

—I learned about this fact from: http://www.mcdonaldsmenu.info/nutrition and a conversation with Elizabeth Dunford

RFF#18 – Salt increases the amount of water that binds to meat…therefore, salty meat weighs more, and thus costs more

Have you ever wondered why there is so much salt in our food? There are a couple of reasons, and this one demonstrates that salt isn’t just there to add flavor and extend shelf life. Apparently it may also increase food industry profits.

—I learned about this fact from: He FJ and MacGregor GA. A comprehensive review on salt and health and current experience of worldwide salt reduction programmes. Journal of Human Hypertension, 2009;23:363-384.