New York adds salt warnings to menus—but will the change affect food choices?

If you see a cute little salt shaker icon next to the most delicious dish on a menu, please don’t order it.

According to the Associated Press, a new nutritional warning system went into place in New York City this week that will require the salt shaker emblem to be placed next to dishes that contain more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium—the amount recommended as a daily limit.

You may be thinking: Are there really that many dishes being served at restaurants that max out your salt intake for an entire 24 hours? “A TGI Friday’s New York cheddar and bacon burger counts 4,280 mg, for example while a Chili’s boneless Buffalo chicken salad has 3,460 mg,” the AP explains.

In other words, it sounds like the kind of thing you’d want to know when making menu decisions, but whether or not it will actually change behavior remains to be seen.

For one thing, the warnings are only required for chain restaurants with more than 15 locations. There’s also the fact that the National Restaurant Association is suing the Department of Health over the regulation, which means its shelf life could be limited. And recent research that looked at the effectiveness of calorie counts on menus has shown they’re doing surprisingly little when it comes to encouraging healthier choices.  Of course, more information on what’s in your food certainly doesn’t seem like a bad thing. —Lisa Elaine Held

Here’s an idea for avoiding crazy amounts of salt in your food: Stay in and cook. These 37 cauliflower recipes, or these 35 Paleo recipes that don’t include meat should provide plenty of inspiration.

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