salty food

6 Ways to Cut Salt out of Restaurant Food

A "salt tax" could save billions of dollars, a new study says. But you can avoid salty food when eating out, and save your own health, with these tricks.

6 Ways to Cut Salt out of Restaurant Food

If salt's on the menu, ask for a special order.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Cash-strapped cities like Philadelphia and New York are pushing hard to pass sugar taxes to boost revenue and, hopefully, combat a growing obesity epidemic fueled in part by sugary sodas. But there's not much talk about instituting a salt tax, which, according to the results of a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, could save billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. The average American adult consumes 3,900 milligrams of sodium each day, nearly double the recommended 2,300 milligrams, and the authors write that taxing salty food could lower salt intake by upwards of 10 percent and have a profound public-health impact.

THE DETAILS: The authors' goal was to find out whether increasing the price of salty foods would lead to overall improvements in public health by reducing the incidence of heart attacks and stroke. Using computer models, they tested a scenario in which the price of salty foods was raised by 40 percent, which they assumed would lower overall salt intake among the general population by 9.5 percent. Their models projected there would be 513,885 fewer strokes and 480,358 fewer heart attacks over the course of a lifetime among adults aged 40 to 85. The authors also estimated that the country would save $32.1 billion in medical costs. Even if the country's salt intake only dropped by 6 percent, we'd still see benefits: 327,892 fewer strokes and 306,137 fewer heart attacks, with $22.4 billion in savings.

WHAT IT MEANS: Most of the assumptions made in this study were modeled after an existing program in the United Kingdom, where the Food Standards Agency (equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) worked with food manufacturers to cut sodium in processed foods to reach voluntary maximum levels for specific foods. The program started in 2003 and has already achieved a 9.5 percent reduction in sodium consumption there.

Read on for tips on how to cut salt out of the saltiest foods in your diet.


Published on: March 8, 2010

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Reduce the amount of salt in your food

It is incredible that at the same time we are warned of the effects of salt in our diet restaurants are allowed to stuff their foods with no warnings or clear labelling.

I disagree

A tax is not the best option I would say.. let's place a tax on everything that could pose a danger.. well, there are many things that can be dangerous, whether they are so at certain dosages or because not enough studies have been made on them.. from fruits that have been touched by pesticides to the perfumes we use and so on. What I'm trying to get to is that in the end the taxes will mostly help in getting us broke and not in getting us healthier. Education, self control and, why not, eating disorder treatments should be stimulated, not the act of making a wallet empty.


What annoys me the most is if you buy reduced sodium products, to get more healthy prepared foods, they are premium priced. This is wrong. People eating healthy, reducing insurance costs, etc. should be rewarded with the lowest price. I rarely eat prepared foods for this reason.


We quit salting our food several years ago. When we eat in a restaurant, I ask them to serve our food without adding more salt. One restaurant we like, resalts what is already salted when they recieve it, so I asked them not to add salt. Usually, the fish was so salty I could hardly eat it. It was much better this last time. I think all restaaurantss need to let the consumer do the salting if they wanislaand lentst salt.

Recipes for Komrades

A sugar tax, a salt tax? Why such piddling steps for an all powerful nanny state? Why not simply publish the official recipe book and mandate it be followed under penalty of imprisonment.

Notice how the government taxes something to reduce it?
Then they tax income as the primary revenue source.

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