The Low Salt Movement – Part I

Do you love going out for restaurant meals?

Do you suffer later from a reaction to heavily salted foods?

We really love going out to enjoy someone else’s cooking but we often suffer a reaction from the excessive salt used in the dishes. We can’t sleep, our heart rate is elevated, we are very thirsty and our mouths are dry, so we toss and turn for much of the night. Our reaction to MSG (Monosodium glutamate) is even worse and we have to avoid any dishes and sauces that contain it.

Recently, we learned that we’re not alone in our plight.

One of the best parts of holding our events here at Peppermint Ridge is meeting so many interesting people. We chat about many things and one conversation at the native foods cooing school we held on June 2 has prompted me to write about this topic.

The chat led us to discover that we aren’t the only ones who have an adverse reaction to restaurant meals containing excessive salt. We discovered that others in the class were having exactly the same reaction!

So we thought that we’d take this discussion online: Are there others feeling the same?

Let’s start a ‘low salt’ movement and advocate for healthier salt use at restaurants!

But first, a little about salt…

Salt is a chemical compound made up of sodium and chlorine. It’s been used in food preparation for thousands of years, for flavour and to help preserve foods.

Too much sodium from salt in the diet has been linked with increased blood pressure and hypertension, and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart attack. The Australian Heart Foundation recommends consuming only 5g (5,000mg) of salt per day (1 teaspoon) and states that:

“75 per cent of our salt intake comes from packaged and processed foods we eat every day, like bread, breakfast cereals, processed meats, cheese, sauces and spreads.”

I would then add restaurant and fast food outlet meals to that list.

Studies in Australia, the UK and the US have shown that children and adults are consuming 9 gm of salt per day from all of the combined foods which is nearly double the recommended level of 5 gm.

Do you actually know how much salt you’re consuming?

People often have no idea of how much salt they are actually consuming from all of the foods they eat in a day.

A study by The George Institute for Global Health revealed from the diets of 400 people in Lithgow for World Hypertension Day on May 17 that the people consumed 9gms of salt per day but believed they consumed less – 6.8gms. These figures are disturbingly high and shows that most of us could be unaware of how much salt we are eating and which dishes are high in salt. (Caulfield Glen Eira Leader May 30 2017

We have no idea of how much salt is in the dishes we are consuming from restaurants and fast food outlets. A US study showed that high end restaurant meals actually have more salt in them that cheaper meals from fast food outlets!

Next week, we’ll post about salt use by chefs and our suggestions for healthier alternatives. Stay tuned.

But for now, join the discussion on Facebook: do you have an adverse reaction to heavily salted foods at restaurants?