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Jun 13, 2011 06:39 PM

Amount of salt in restaurant food?

It is almost inevitable that after eating out, even in a nice restaurant, that I will feel very thirsty and dehydrated afterwards. Why and how do they get so much salt into the food?

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  1. I think it's a combination of things - the use of prepared products like sauces and seasoning that have a lot of salt in them already, and a heavy hand with the salt shaker. Salt makes things taste better, so restaurants use a lot of it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeanmarieok

      That really is the bottom line. Salt makes things taste better as evidenced by how much is in prepared foods. Restaurants also recognize this and season for taste, not for health. The three things restaurants use to make their food taste really good are fat, salt and butter. A lot of that has to do with the evolution of us humans. For thousands of years we didn't get enough of those things in our bodies so we evolved to crave them. Even though we (Americans anyway) can now get as much as we want the craving is still there so look at what we've become.

    2. I haven't noticed this, and I've eaten at all types of restaurants around the world.

      1. Not at all my experience.

        1. Maybe you're especially sensitive to sodium.

          Also, if you're eating at chains, even nicer ones, many of their sauces are premade and contain a good amount of sodium. MSG will also cause many people to be thirsty, and it's a common component of sauces and seasonings.

          6 Replies
          1. re: inaplasticcup

            I notice this particularly in chains, but also in independent establishments. I drink a lot of water but when I wake up at night very thirsty, I 'll try and remember if I ate out that day and it is always because of a restaurant meal. Interesting other people aren't bothered by it.

            1. re: fara

              There is no uniformity in how people are affected by salt. Some people are hypersensitive, some cannot tolerate it medically and others are simply unaffected by it. There are lots of posts on here reflecting certain people's intolerance of saltiness in foods. You'd have to really salt something heavily for me to care and as far as my wife is concerned, there is no such thing as "oversalting."

              1. re: fara

                Even some independent establishments may often use prepared products. When you see the big Sysco truck outside it gives you a hint. But beyond that it has been mentioned that some people are more sensitive to sodium. I know my wife use to complain about swelling in her fingers after eating at my moms but didn't complain when eating out at Chili's and I know Chili's uses way more salt in their food. So who knows

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Given that Sysco distributes just about every type of product a restaurant would use (paper goods, dry goods, produce, meats, dairy - and prepared products) it's difficult to draw any conclusions about what a particular establishment would be receiving just by the presence of a Sysco truck.

                  1. re: ferret

                    Agreed. I've read this time and time again, and it's perplexing.

                    1. re: ferret

                      Yes I know and your response is duly noted.

              2. I generally drink a lot of water while eating out and I find that circumvents however much salt/MSG is added to the food.