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The salty USA

by EMILY BEZERRA Staff Writer

It is no secret that we Americans love fast food. However, recent studies prove that American fast food it far more salty than in other countries.

Salt is not necessarily a bad thing, though too much salt has its negative effects. Too much sodium in a diet has been associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer, accumulation of extracellular fluid (Edema), congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) conducted a recent study in the salt content of fast food chains in six countries: USA, Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (UK). The study examined six different fast food chains: Burger King, Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Subway.

The results of the CMAJ’s study prove just how much saltier US fast-food is. For example, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets in the USA contain 2.5 times more salt than in the UK, with 1.6 grams of salt in each nugget.

The study found that breakfast food and pizza contained the most salt in the US. Pizza Hut had the highest salt content, while Subway sandwiches had the least. Likewise, the content of sodium in the US’s Subway club sandwich was more than twice France’s.

Unfortunately, the processed food industry is not making much effort to reduce the amount of salt in fast food. They claim that cutting salt from its food is just too technically difficult to pull off.

While some people are outraged by this information, other people do not understand the harmful effects of too much salt.

“I honestly don’t care how much salt is in my food, it’s so good so it doesn’t really matter,” says freshman Melanie Conlon.

Fortunately, McDonalds plans to reduce the amount of sodium in all their food, nationally, by 15 percent by the year 2015. Other fast-food chains claim they are going to reduce the amount of sodium in their food as well.

“I noticed that time every time I eat fast food, it’s really salty. So I’m not really surprised by this. But it’s still gross,” says freshman Tina Volkmann.

Fast-food restaurants are capable of reducing the salt content in their foods. Although fast-food is very good, this study shows that a 10 percent decrease in the amount of sodium would be almost unnoticeable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that fast-food and processed foods are responsible for most of our major over-consumption of salt.

Baja Fresh is known for their “Fresh Menu”, which includes freshly prepared Mexican food, produce, and quality meats. At this Mexican grill, you will find no freezers, can openers, or microwaves. Freshly prepared food is healthier and more nutritional.

Panera Bread is a bakery-café based eatery with a menu full of healthy options. You can chose from two different types of whole grain bread for your sandwiches, and opt for an apple rather than chips with your dish. Controlling your portion is easy due to their half-size soups, salads, and sandwiches. The eatery also uses antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken.

It is safe to say that the amount of salt in the US’s fast food industry is not healthy. An occasional trip to Burger King will not kill you, though.

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