NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has launched a new ad campaign for subway riders, advising them that too much salt is a bad idea.
The department launched the ad campaign Monday, urging passengers to scrutinize the salt in packaged foods and choose those with less. The ad shows two loaves of bread and zooms in on the sodium line in their nutrition labels, showing that one loaf has more than twice the sodium of the other.
“Too much salt can lead to heart attack and stroke,” the ad warns.
The cost of the new salt campaign wasn’t immediately available Monday evening. The city said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid for part of it.
The city has nudged food manufacturers to reduce salt, promulgating voluntary salt guidelines in 2010 for various restaurant and store-bought foods. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this February that 21 companies have met targets so far. Heinz ketchup is 15 percent less salty than it was three years ago, for instance, and Kraft American cheese singles have 18 percent less sodium.
“Most of the salt in our diets comes from packaged food — food that may not even taste salty, such as bread,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley noted in a release Monday.
This is not the first ad campaign the city has mounted targeting salt. In fact, Bloomberg for years has been the anti-salt mayor, preaching the hazards of too much salt in food. He’s tried to get restaurants and food manufacturers to use less of it.
“Would you like to live longer? My suggestion is don’t overdo the salt,” Bloomberg once said.
But also in 2011, an analysis in the American Journal of Hypertension cast skepticism.
The report found little significant evidence that eating more salt would shorten one’s life, and that people on salt-controlled diets didn’t live longer than people on normal healthy diets, leaving some to say the city may have gone overboard in the war on salt.
“To do it across the board with everybody … it’s a bit too much,” Dr. Franz Messerli, the director of the hypertension program at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, said in 2011.
At the time, Bloomberg dismissed the study as “one study out of all the studies.”
“Most heart specialists will tell you you would be better off with low sodium intake,” Bloomberg said in 2011.
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