The SALT Debate

June 18, 2024

PASS THE SALT:  The Nature of Things documentary examines the salt debate.

One would think that something as basic as every day table salt would be easily understood, but the humble salt-shaker still holds many mysteries. Some health experts say salt is dangerous, while others say that it’s an essential nutrient. 

The debate surrounding salt’s health risks and benefits is explored in PASS THE SALT, an award-winning documentary produced for CBC’s The Nature of Things by Markham Street Films, that takes us from far beneath the earth’s crust, to the Stratford Chefs School for dinner, to the inner depths of the human body. Dietitians, professional chefs, food manufacturers, clinicians, heart surgeons, researchers and scientists all join in on this search for the real answers to a mounting debate about the benefits and dangers of sodium chloride. 

Salt, or sodium chloride, is often used for food preservation, preparation and flavouring. It’s needed to dry brine meat, blanch vegetables and can even alter the texture of a dish. Randi Rudner, Program Manager and an instructor at Stratford Chefs School in Stratford, Ontario, says it would be impossible to run a quality restaurant without it. 

Registered dietician Chelsea Cross says it’s vital for our heart, nerve and muscle function, as well as blood pressure regulation.

But there is a war on salt. It began in 1977, when a U.S. government nutrition report said that sugar, fat and salt were threats to public health. Although the evidence was shaky, salt got the blame for heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure. The daily recommended limit was three grams of salt — about half a teaspoon.

Nutritional science is still in its infancy; but as new pronouncements about dietary risks and benefits emerge every day, we need to remember to take them with a grain of salt.

CLICK to watch the full documentary ‘PASS THE SALT’ on CBC’s The Nature of Things.

Stratford Chefs School is a not-for-profit Career College focused on the innovative, hands-on training of high-quality, aspiring Chefs and Culinary Entrepreneurs. The School’s vision is to be the primary training and education source of choice for tomorrow’s culinary leaders, and to train students with a culture code of excellence, innovation, collaboration, and respect.

Established in 1983, Stratford Chefs School has set the standard of excellence for culinary training in Canada, graduating nearly 900 alumni who contribute to a distinctive Canadian cuisine. The unique Apprenticeship program provides students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of classical cuisines and the business elements of operating successful restaurants in today’s market. Stratford Chefs School is one of Canada’s most successful and respected culinary institutions and is continually evolving to meet the needs of its students and the culinary community.

Photos and video courtesy of Markham Street Films and CBC’s The Nature of Things.

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