"Mexicans like strong flavors and that's why it's very common to combine lime and salt, but all the foods like pizza and ham already have a big dose of salt," Hoyo Vadillo wrote.
At least a few countries top Mexico in salt consumption, notably in Asian nations with a taste for miso broths, pickled vegetables and salt-laden soy sauces.
But Julian Alcala, a professor of public health at Mexico's National Autonomous University, says that while it is a world problem, salt hits Mexico particularly hard. "It is an ancestral problem. In Mexico, there are even beautiful stories about the (pre-Hispanic) salt goddess."
Alcala said the problem is aggravated by the processed, industrialized foods Mexicans began consuming in recent decades. "It is much more complicated than just saying: 'take the salt off the table.'"
"They have to stop selling us the garbage they're selling us," he said of food companies.
Back in Juarez neighborhood, Rocio Perez, the manager of Antojitos Mexicanos restaurant, chatted with customers and watched as waiters dispatched endless tacos de guisado at tables still laden with salt shakers.
"You have to give the customers what they want," Perez said. "There are a lot of people who, before they even try the food, they're already sprinkling salt on it. These tastes aren't going to change."
Consumer activist Alejandro Calvillo said the Mexico City campaign is a worthy effort, but falls short by not confronting the major snack vendors.
It's an issue that Mexico, which now holds the dubious distinction of being the world's biggest per-capita consumer of soft drinks, has faced before. Repeated campaigns to wean Mexicans off soft drinks and junk food have failed.
Calvillo and others hope the anti-salt campaign doesn't go the same way.
"We think it's good, but it doesn't address the main cause of high salt consumption, which is the processed foods," Calvillo said. "In the cases both of salt consumption and obesity, public policies have been designed with conflicts of interest, because of the participation of companies that caused the problem in the first place."
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