What's So Bad About Salt?

(And Can Life Taste Good With Less of It?)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is cracking down on salt in city restaurants. But is salt really that bad for us? In this week's food segment, Marion Nestle, author of "Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety," explains the science and politics of salt. And Melissa Clark, food writer for the New York Times, compares her low-sodium homemade breakfast offerings to those sold at fast food restaurants.

Melissa found that a corn muffin from Dunkin Donuts has 860 mg of sodium (36% of your recommended daily allowance), 18 grams of fat (28% recommended daily allowance) and 510 calories.

Here's her healthier version, which only has 230 mg of sodium per serving.

Corn Muffins

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, sugar, and baking soda. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter. Cook the butter 2 to 3 minutes until pale gold with a nutty fragrance, being careful not to let it get too brown. Pour the butter into the batter and fold to combine. Scrape the batter into muffin cups, filling two-thirds of the way full.
  4. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings


Marion Nestle

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer


Melissa Clark

Comments [2]

Circle Natural

Salt is among the most important minerals supporting our lives and health!

The importance of salt in our lives cannot be overstated. Without salt, our bodies cannot perform some of the vital functions like regulating blood and body fluids and maintaining nerve signals. Salt deficiency leads to muscular weakness, cramps and exhaustion.
Severe salt deprivation can even prove fatal.
Salt sets off an osmosis movement in the body and adjusts the amount of fluids within and outside the cells. A healthy body processes the amount of salt it needs, and expels the rest through the kidneys.

The two elements of salt – sodium and chloride – play a vital role in body functions.

Sodium helps in sending messages to and from the brain, regulates the body fluids and helps our muscles
including those of the heart to contract.

Chloride preserves the acid-base balance of the body, absorbs potassium and helps the blood to carry carbon dioxide from respiratory tissues to the lungs.

To learn more go to www.realsalts.com/faq.html

Apr. 21 2010 03:20 PM

The comment, however sarcastic, about how the mayor seems to be implementing a "nanny state" by trying to restrict salt use in restaurants or other eateries, and Ms Nestle's following comment that she sees it as the mayor being interested in "public health," are the ironies of the issue. There are people who complain that the government is only trying to progressively limit people's freedoms by starting with salt just because it is presumably unhealthy in commonly-used portions, but then it will go on to where the government will limit choice of loudness of music so that people do not grow deaf, limit clothing styles that restrict movement or circulation, or limit freedom of speech that could cause someone to slug another person, etc, but these overthoughts of radically-minded people aside, if there were no oversight as to what food companies or fast food places can put in food and people, in great numbers, died or got sick because of it the poor and undereducated would most likely be affected and there would be an uproar about how government just does not care and allows the most vulnerable people to suffer and die from high blood pressure, or diabetes or obesity all while they do not have proper health insurance, and people would say that the government is just trying to get rid of groups whom it does not like.

Jan. 21 2010 04:41 PM

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