Hey CSPI, hands off my salt shaker!
You read that right; consuming close to two and a half day's worth of salt in one sitting could kill you where you feast.
The saltiest offenders hail from Red Lobster, Chili's and Olive Garden and make for a pretty full plate.
- The Admirals Feast with lobster-covered mashed potatoes, a cheddar bay biscuit and lemonade comes to a grand total of 7,106 mg of sodium.
- Chili's Buffalo Chicken Fajitas and a Dr. Pepper clock in at an impressive 6,916 mg of sodium.
- The Tour of Italy complete with bread stick salad and a Coke measure a whopping 6,176 mg of salt.
While I applaud the Center's desire to look out for our salt intake, and yes, more low sodium items would be a welcome addition to menus, there are many other restaurants and many other choices. It's not like you walk into Red Lobster on a Saturday night and they strap you down and pour an Admiral's Feast down your throat. To the contrary; the worst offenders have several meals with reasonable levels of salt.
- At Red Lobster a half order of wood-grilled Tilapia, a garden salad with vinaigrette dressing and broccoli only contains 530 mg of sodium
- Chili's offers Salmon and side salad with avocado dressing with a higher yet, but not going to kill you in the booth, 930 mg of sodium.
- The dinner portion of Olive Garden's Linguine alla Marinara contains 900 mg salt.
Another portion of the study took children's menus to task, which is very worthwhile concern. Despite the fact that you can get a somewhat low sodium, 380 mg, children's size spaghetti at Olive Garden, healthy restaurant items for children are hard to find.
In the end, the battle over healthy food and salt content is one the market should decide, not biased public interest groups. If there is a demand for low sodium content meals and healthy kids offerings in restaurants, let an entrepreneur fill that void, but don't try and tell me how much salt I am allowed to have. Until you nationalize health care; leave those decisions to me and my physician!