Is Salt the New Food War?

A favorite seasoning is under attack with new recommendations to eat less salt.
3:00 | 12/13/11

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Transcript for Is Salt the New Food War?
As the only -- we eat salt has been a treasured commodity going back to the earliest civilizations. And while we don't traded his currency anymore most of us have enough affection for this elemental seasoning. To be dangerous and now the FDA has signals and it's looking for new ways to bring salt consumption in line a shift that could change eating. As we know what's here's ABC's Lindsey Davis gets crispy and then kind of cooks inside afterwards. Taste is what makes -- Andrew Connolly -- roasted chicken the hottest selling item on the menu. Up and over and then. Put it overly didn't get that taste that has people flocking to his trendy downtown Manhattan restaurant macondo verdict but he uses olive oil a bit of lemon. And a very generous helping of salt. Don't have salt -- there it's really it's going to be plan and I don't wanna go through life went through. Even -- the chicken in salt and water for 45 minutes before roasting what does salt water does it penetrates the cells and he. And just kind of makes -- -- and -- here but now salt -- under attack. The FDA is considering limiting the amount of salt that restaurants can use in food. All restaurants from the -- verdict all the way down to fast food -- which chef formally finds that an outrage and says he's ready to fight it. If they should crack down. Not in my ribs chicken and he says you can't blame his roasted chicken for Americans eating too much salt. We put some salt and pepper and -- to make it -- great that's different than. If you you know open up a plastic container. Chips and do you know -- can sue where you do you know I don't know I think the popcorn that's processed are -- But this woman disagrees. Nutritionist Cynthia -- says Americans are eating far too much sodium often without even realizing it. The FDA recommends Americans eat only about two thirds of a teaspoon of salt today that's 15100 milligrams. In fact the average American can easily eat twice the amount of salt that he or she should in one meal. Pizza and wings -- special -- -- from medium. -- and four -- wings almost 4000. Milligrams of sodium -- a little grilled cheese tomato soup seems like it would be. Reasonably healthy. This meal. Over 2700. Milligrams. Lasagna salad yes this is a lot more that I think most people at bank over 4700. Milligrams of sodium here really talking about what you should be consuming in two days in one -- about two and half days worth. In one dinner. And all that excess. Adds up let's get a sense -- how much sodium we would take in any year are talking about eleven cops assaults is the equivalent. Of the sodium intake and the average American -- a lot of -- and not to melt the ice. On a large stretch of -- -- The land mine so -- -- really needs a drummer and sass says that's because 785%. Of our sodium intake comes from processed foods. But there are ways of limiting for example look no further than a certain size. On the back of your hands there's two servings in his hand so our sodium here 470. Milligrams. From one serving -- you have the -- things now we're talking almost without end. I -- at 15100. For one meal and if -- having a salad with -- -- Look closely before you douse it with store bought dressing. This is notoriously. High exciting -- AM just salad dressings and -- them. So we turn is over we look at the sodium 300 milligrams but then you have to make sure you look at that -- -- take. It's two tables which is using two table yes that's -- most of this is probably at least double that. Also don't be fooled by the labeling low light reduced sodium. Each means something different producer -- -- asked point 5% last night's original version if it says low sodium on the label off and have to have. -- less than a 140 milligrams sodium -- -- Light typically means 50% less than the original and thought that it means no additional salt to whatever is naturally in the product. One easy fix to lower your daily salt intake learn to substitute. Like this plain bagel and it has 500 milligrams of sodium. That's even before you put any butter cream cheese on this one bagels really the equivalent of about. Three to four slices of -- south flooding that we can do is. I have used something that's a little bit less dance like an English muffin like saying. 200 milligrams so even -- and half the -- you're so they get more in the day on the Whitney -- not well. And making a simple switches could mean eleven million fewer high blood pressure patients. An estimated 92000. Lives saved. Along with about 24 billion dollars in health care costs. Each year so it's high damage kidney damage. There even some links to cancer lowering blood pressure effectively markedly reduces risk -- stroke and heart -- And if -- and levels in processed scooter cut down. Over time as -- likely reduce our -- for salt. Your case but it's getting used to it. The perception that -- decrease my -- my food's gonna taste awful has just untruth. What they go back and -- they'll try this at home. What chef Andrew -- he says you can -- at home. Is cooking with fresh food and using some alternatives to Salt Lake lemon juice and vinegar and oregano. This is the part of cooking them -- that the -- in part. Juicy and tender that's excellent in the -- assault but it's not consulted. And -- meal with out any -- -- It's kind of sad really. The possible that's the opinion of a man who dedicates his life to the delicious. For the rest of us it's a matter of taste. And good health for Nightline I'm Linda Davis New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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