Heart Attack Entrées and Side Orders of Stroke

Overly Salty Restaurant Meals Present Long-Term Health Risks for All, and Immediate Danger for Some

WASHINGTON—Unsafe levels of sodium chloride, or salt, in chain restaurant meals increase one’s chance of developing hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The nonprofit food safety and nutrition watchdog group today is exposing chain restaurant meals with dangerously high levels of sodium and is renewing its call on industry and government to lower sodium levels in foods.

People with high blood pressure, African Americans, and people middle-aged and older—70 percent of the population—should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily, according to the government’s dietary advice. Others should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Yet it is almost impossible to get restaurant meals with reasonably safe levels of sodium. A lifetime of eating much more than the recommended amounts of sodium presents an increased risk of disease in the long term. But for some, particularly the elderly, consuming 4,000 mg or more of sodium in a single meal can present an immediate risk of heart failure or other serious problems.

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