Bakers Journal

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Groups concerned hidden salt masks calorie reductions


March 11, 2014
By Bakers Journal

March 11, 2014, Toronto – A coalition of
health organizations that goes under the name the Ontario Sodium Alliance has
warned about the restaurant practice of adding salt as a flavour enhancer to
compensate for lower-calorie menu items that have less sugar or fat.

March 11, 2014, Toronto – A coalition of
health organizations that goes under the name the Ontario Sodium Alliance has
warned about the restaurant practice of adding salt as a flavour enhancer to
compensate for lower-calorie menu items that have less sugar or fat.

It is common knowledge that chain
restaurants have strict control of their menu items, and that they formulate
recipes, using fats, sugars and salt to maximize flavour. The OSA’s concern is
that the positive trend to offer lower-calorie foods may bring hidden dangers
to those who are vulnerable to high blood pressure and heart disease, both
influenced by a high dietary sodium intake. The OSA believes that the
introduction of a menu labelling law in Ontario provides the perfect
opportunity to ensure that patrons are given health protective information
about dangerous amounts of sodium.

“We think that caloric menu labelling is
extremely important and applaud action by the government,” said Mark Holland, director
of health promotion and public affairs at the Heart and Stroke Foundation and
one of the Alliance partners, in a press release. “But we don't want restaurant
patrons to have to trade calories for salt. Ontario Sodium Alliance members
want to be sure that chain restaurants are also required to identify high
sodium menu items. We encourage health authorities to ensure that this
information is available to consumers, especially the high percentage of
Canadians who are most vulnerable to high blood pressure and as a result are more
vulnerable to heart disease.”

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One in six people in Ontario have high
blood pressure, and that number rises to one in four over the age of 45. World
Salt Awareness Week, March 10-16, is a good time for us all to consider how to
eat less salt – from eating fewer processed foods to checking the amount of
sodium in packaged foods, to asking for low sodium options when you eat at
restaurants.

The Ontario Sodium Alliance works to
identify, prioritize and pursue opportunities that, in support of the Sodium
Reduction Strategy for Canada, reduce Ontarian's sodium intake and reduce the
sodium content in Ontario's food supply. Its members include the Champlain
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network, Dietitians of Canada (Ontario), the
Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario, Ontario Medical Association, and the
Ontario Stroke Network.

For further information, contact Robin
Reece, Ontario Sodium Alliance, at 416-937-8945.


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