Sodium in an unexpected place-Lima News

Patients with diabetes and heart disease told me they use very little salt. “But I’ve been buying more convenience food since my wife died,” he continued. This is a problem, according to new guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration to food manufacturers.

Citing that more than 70% of the sodium we consume is in packaged foods or restaurant foods, before getting a salt bowl, the FDA recently told food processors about the sodium in their products. I asked you to gradually reduce the amount. (Note: Salt is a combination of sodium and chloride. This is the sodium portion of this popular seasoning currently described.)

Not all sodium is bad. It enhances flavor and helps protect food from spoilage. And it is an essential nutrient for the body to maintain the proper balance of water.

What health professionals are worried about is our current obsession with excess salt. Diseases such as osteoporosis (excess sodium can exude calcium from bones) and high blood pressure are all associated with a diet that is too high in sodium.

And high blood pressure is not something to ignore, says the American Heart Association (AHA). Too much sodium draws excess water into the blood, making it difficult for the heart to pump nutrients and oxygen into the body. Over time, the walls of blood vessels can stretch and become damaged, like a hose in a garden under pressure. This can lead to stroke and other heart diseases, AHA says.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, the proper intake of sodium is 1,500 milligrams per day for people over the age of 19. However, we Americans usually consume more than twice that, an estimated 3,400 milligrams. The current goal of the FDA and diet guidelines for Americans is somewhere in between, less than 2,300 milligrams a day.

So … until food companies understand how to reduce sodium in their products, we need to be vigilant about what to put in our grocery carts. Packaged convenience food is a good place to start, even what we tend to think of as “healthy”.

Take, for example, a meat substitute. Beyond burgers and other similar products contain more than five times as much sodium (390 milligrams) as compared to the 75 milligrams of sodium found in 4 ounces of real ground beef.

Keep this in mind when comparing food labels. According to the FDA, foods that contain less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving are considered “low sodium.”

“Reduced sodium” means that there is at least one-third less sodium than the original product.

Have you checked your breakfast cereal recently? The only person I know that it does not contain sodium is good old shredded wheat with this simple ingredient label: whole grain wheat. Hopefully other products will soon improve the sodium profile.

Barbara Quinn-Intermill is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at a community hospital on the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at

Sodium in an unexpected place-Lima News

Source link Sodium in an unexpected place-Lima News

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