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Salt fodder

(article, Kim Carlson)

According to the Economist, salt is coming under scrutiny. In a piece entitled "A pinch too much: Salt is set to be the next trans fat," the magazine explains how salt may come to be regulated as a food "additive," rather than ignored as a harmless substance. 

But wait, you say: Salt is a cook's [/columns/frontburner/saltseasoning "best friend,"] subtly enhancing a food's own flavor. 

True, but the problem is, most Americans eat way too much of it: as much as 20 grams a day, frequently in the form of processed food. (A teaspoon of table salt has 2.3 grams, which is plenty for one person in one day.) In some people, too much salt can cause high blood pressure, or hypertension, a condition that troubles more than 100 million Americans.

If we as a country want to get a handle on health-care costs, says the Economist,_ we've got to look at root causes of the problem. And so, municipalities are preparing to crack down on sodium levels in some foods:

bq.By all accounts, New York is preparing to add permissible sodium levels to its recent ban on artificial trans fats and its requirement for calorie counts to be listed on the menus in restaurant chains. Absent some national initiative, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle won’t be far behind.

For another account of the situation, head over to Epicurious, where Michael Park uses metaphor to talk about the salt situation — and provokes a host of comments from nervous salt lovers.