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Can the Salt Police Get You to Cut Down?

January 18, 2010

The New York City Mayor is at it again.  In the past few years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was successful in getting chain restaurants to visibly display calories, and remove trans fats.  Now the Mayor has turned his attention to curbing the salt intake of city residents.

The mayor’s plan, which is voluntary, aims to cut the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods in the city by 25 percent over five years.  Since the sodium in salt causes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, the Mayor’s plan is to improve the overall health of New Yorkers.

It sounds like the Mayor is on the right track in his quest to help New Yorkers get healthy, but will a voluntary plan do the trick?  If “Eighty percent of the salt in Americans’ diets comes from packaged or restaurant food,” as the New York Times reports; is the answer for better health to reduce the salt in those foods or to reduce those foods?