Salt is an integral part of any restaurant and many meals; in some dishes, it’s an integral part of the baking process, works in many seasonings and sauces, and is leading cause for health troubles in America. It’s a balancing act between flavor and personal diets.
Americans are more health-conscious than ever, especially near the beginning of the year, so they’re looking for heart-healthy meals and diets.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that most Americans eat out four to five times a week, and one of those meals alone could contain more sodium than the recommended daily allowance for most people. 2,300 milligrams a day. Excess intake of sodium can lead to stroke and heart disease via high blood pressure.
A report, From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants, published in CDC’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, said it is a challenge for consumers to control the sodium content in restaurant food since sodium is already added to meals before it reaches the table. However, but restaurants can work with public health officials to provide consumers with lower levels of sodium.
The report suggests a multitude of ways that lower-sodium meals can be made attractive to customers. One suggestion is for health department dietitians to help restaurants figure out how much sodium is actual in their dishes, and point out choices they can make to swap in for lower sodium. Additionally, lower sodium dishes could be offered at a slightly lower price to entice customers to eat healthier. Information can help all parties, with restaurants both explaining to food service staff why lower-sodiudm dishes are better for them (and how to prepare them), with signage and menus indicating sodium content to customers.
It’s not to say salt is an entirely a bad concept, especially when it comes to taste in the menu. The Guardian points out all the miracles it can do for food. Salt can reduce bitterness (which is why coffee fans add a pinch to their brews), bring out sweetness, and even increase the smell of food. The article points out that salt added at the table can dominate, which works fine for chips and fries, but added at the appropriate time during the cooking or baking process, can improve flavors, textures, and even smells.
As a responsible restaurant, you’ll need to figure out the perfect balance with salt. To one extent, it’ll enhance flavors, tastes, and smells, but it’ll also enhance the chances for stroke and heart disease. You may want to look into a lower-sodium menu, or even take a brave step and only allow customers to add salt to their dishes, not the kitchen.
If you want your customers for a number of years, you might want to keep them in great shape.