Puneet Narayan, MD; Anubhav Kumar, MS
Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Narayan P, Kumar A. Population Strategies to Decrease Sodium Intake. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:276. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-4-201008170-00022
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(4):276.
TO THE EDITOR:
If we expect to reduce salt consumption to improve the cardiovascular health of the nation, we have to involve patients and the general public in making informed decisions through education instead of the one-sided approach proposed by Smith-Spangler and colleagues (1). The media have covered high-profile efforts to legislate the use of salt in restaurants and eateries. The motivation behind these proposed laws is to reduce overconsumption of high-salt foods by Americans when they dine out. Unfortunately, regulating salt in restaurants will not have significant effects on population health. Before setting foot in our favorite restaurants, most of us have already “overdosed” on salt by eating processed foods and snacks (conveniently packed in plastic bags for instant gratification). Many “healthy” alternatives, such as canned vegetable juices, may have—in a single serving—one quarter of what a person with high blood pressure is allowed in an entire day. Even foods that do not taste salty, such as breads and cookies, can have high amounts of sodium in the form of baking powder and baking soda, masking their true salt content.
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