Why Fast Food Chains use so much Salt

Salt is addictive, and fast food chains know it. We have all grown up using it, and the truth is, we crave it.  Go into any supermarket and you will find an entire aisle dedicated to the sales of bags of salty snacks. Chips, popcorn, crackers, and nuts are all popular quick treats, and all made better by the use of salt.

Fast food restaurants were always well aware of the fact that, as a whole, people love salt, and they don’t like bland food. If you are on a sodium free diet, you know that leaving the salt off your eggs or potatoes takes time to accept.

If you have ever started eating potato chips or popcorn and couldn’t stop, you know that salt is addictive. It only takes the smell of fries bubbling away in hot oil to remind you of the taste of those potatoes laced with sodium, and you are hooked. Fast food restaurants are well aware of this fact, and it is purely a matter of economics that the better tasting and more addictive your food is, the more people will crave it, and the bigger your profits will be.

Many meat patties served at fast food restaurants, and certainly chicken are laced with sodium before they reach the restaurant. This is part of the process to preserve the product. So, salt has been added already before the grill cook adds more, and before you get the sandwich and sprinkle on even more. Combined with ketchup, which also has sodium or other sauces made with salt, this gives you a dangerously high sodium hit for the day.

If you couple the normal sodium packed fare with a shake, or even a flavored iced coffee, which do contain sodium, and add cheese to your sandwich, you can double your salt intake.

Salt is an important nutrient in the body, when taken in small doses, and, restaurants aren’t doing anything that our own families haven’t done for years, trying to make food taste as tempting as they can. But this is the 21st century and nutrition and health facts are everywhere. In this day and age when the danger of too much sodium is a well known fact, it would be good plan for any restaurant to advertise sodium free foods. Let the consumer decide if they want to add salt, and let them determine the amount.


  1. Why is There So Much Sodium in Restaurant Food? | SparkPeople
  2. Fast Food With the Most Sodium – Health.com

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