Yes, you can still have that bottle of microbrew (just the one, mind you - the new Dietary Guidelines and all), but you'd better step away from the pretzel bowl. Oh, you were going to skip those and just order right from the bar menu? Great! What'll you have?
You're watching your fat intake - right there with you. So it'll be the grilled chicken breast sandwich and a salad instead of fries. With what dressing? The light Italian? Sounds great.
Your sodium count will be…the sandwich is gonna run you around 1300 mg (380 mg for the bun alone), and the dressing about 480 mg. The beer is a bargain at 11 mg.
And how will you be paying for that?
It's not just the shaker on the table - foods that might seem positively angelic when it comes to calorie, carb and fat content are packed to the brim with salt. That's a big no-no for people attempting to adhere to new governmental dietary guidelines that suggest a maximum daily intake of 2,300 mg of salt for a healthy adult, and 1,500 mg for African Americans, people over 51 years old, and those with a history of history of hypertension, diabetes or kidney problems.
Excessive salt intake is linked to blood pressure issues and increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, heart disease and kidney failure - but how are everyday people supposed to excise it from their diet and still live a delicious life?
In an ideal world, we'd all cook everything from scratch. If you've got the time and access to fresh produce - lucky you! Instead of using salt to enhance the fabulous natural flavors of vegetables, lean meats, fish and whole-grain carbs, experiment with herbs and acid.
Buy, or even better, plant a crop of basil, sage, thyme, cilantro, dill, oregano, tarragon or rosemary to have at the ready to rub, sprinkle, stir and infuse into just about any dish you can imagine. Lemon and lime juices as well as all kinds of vinegar add a bright note to many foods - and may help you wean yourself away from dressings, soy sauce, Worcestershire, tamari and other high-sodium offenders.
Spice is awfully nice when you want to amp up the flavor. Tuck the salt container in the back of the cupboard so you have to work for it, and bring nutmeg, celery seed, pepper, cumin, paprika, allspice, anise to the fore. Once you get to know their individual characteristics (nutmeg is gangbusters on starch and star anise works and plays well with poultry), make a signature spice blend in bulk so you can have it ready to shake in a second.
And don't forget the alliums! Garlic, shallots, scallions and onions pack a massive flavor punch - but you might want to plant a stash of mint if you're planning on using them raw. Chiles are also chock full of favor and with enough heat, you'll never miss the salt.
Previously - Vegetables. Eat them. Here's how.
It's a Process
For most of us, there just aren't enough hours in the day to shop, chop and cook it all from scratch. Processed foods make up the bulk of many people's diets, but get a gander at these sodium counts:
Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter – 140 mg per 2 tablespoon serving
Reduced Fat Creamy version – 150 mg
Crunchy version – 110 mg
Reduced Fat Crunchy version – 150 mg
Classic Wonder Bread – 150 mg per slice
Heinz Tomato Ketchup – 190 mg per tablespoon
One Kraft American Cheese Single – 270 mg
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing – 260 mg per serving
Sara Lee Hearty & Delicious White Bun – 380 mg per bun
"Delightful" Wheat Hamburger Bun – 160 mg per bun
Green Giant Cut Green Beans – 400 mg per 1/2 cup serving
Low-Sodium version – 200 mg per 1/2 cup serving
Prego Traditional Italian Sauce – 480 mg per 1/2 cup serving
Kraft Free Zesty Italian Dressing – 480 mg per serving
Lean Cuisine Cheese Ravioli or Garlic Chicken – 620 mg per serving
Tombstone Original Pizza (1/3 of a 9" pizza) – 620 mg per serving
Campbell's regular condensed Chicken Noodle soup – 890 mg per serving
25% Less Sodium version – 660 mg
Swanson's Hungry Man Dinner, Classic Fried Chicken – 2869 mg per serving
Man can't live without bread, sauce and pizza, right? So what's a diner who's short of time to do? The low-sodium version of foods is, of course, a good bet but it won't always knock down the count as far as it should.
The governmental guidelines suggest using smaller plates so food portions seem larger, upping one's intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy. That may sound dull and daunting, but we swear it's not.
A few tips so you don't feel like you're sacrificing:
- Skip the condiments, or at least the saltier ones. Instead of ketchup, consider a slice of tomato and a flick of vinegar. If you were going to dunk your fries (baked, unsalted ones, of course!) for flavor, consider sprinkling them with that there spice blend you made earlier. A tablespoon of hummus weighs in at under 40 mg of sodium, so smear with abandon. This may seem silly at first, but it takes a while to break a habit, stick with it.
- Learn to love non-processed grains. Quinoa (technically a seed, but served like a grain) and bulgur cook up quickly and add a fabulous nutty flavor to the meal. Oatmeal (stay away from packet varieties) might seem like a drag, but it can make a surprising savory dish with the addition of cumin, coriander or nutmeg. Brown rice can be your very best friend - just make a big batch on the weekend and serve it up throughout the week. Eating more of these whole grains means you'll need less of the processed stuff.
- If you can't get fresh vegetables, pick the frozen version over the canned variety - which is often processed and packed with a lot of salt. Try to fill up your plate with half fruits and vegetables and squeeze out the salty offenders.
- Yeah, who has time? Make time. It's important. Get together with friends, family, neighbors - whoever you trust, and swap soups and sauces. Each person makes a giant batch of soup, sauce or stew - skipping the salt - and divvies it out to the group. That way no one gets sick of having the same old dinner night after night and you'll all be around for a good, long time.
Just make sure you don't send it out in the good Tupperware. You'll never get that back.
Previously - Lunchtime poll – will you halt the salt?
Read Federal dietary guidelines target salt, saturated fats
For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods...^,,
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good ideas in the article, but we need to work on the corporate mentality not just the individual mentality. why are there soups that have 1000mg of sodium per serving? manufacturers making healthy food in this country should be the norm not the exception. To eat healthy you have to spend 3 times as much as someone eating trash. why can't soup companies make soups with low sodium and let the consumer add however much salt they want? then it places responsibility for your health on you. we have it completely backwards.
About 5 years ago, my daughter went through a bout of nephrotic syndrome(a kidney disorder), not all that uncommon in kids. Diet was restricted to essentially no sodium. When she would spend the weekend with me, I cooked everything from scratch so as to control the sodium, it was unreal how much was in everything when I starte reading labels. It took some work, but substitues were found for most everything a typical 5 year old likes, be it home made french fries, and they were fried, just no salt, to this day she loves them that way. taco meat was easy to make saltless, skip the cheese and go with lettuce and tomatoes, I found albertsons house brand hard taco shells had next to no salt. It can all be done, just takes the will power.
I remember dropping her at her moms after a 7 days of salt free living, had to hit BK and get me a double salted double whopper with a large double salted fry on the way home, i was worse of than a crack addict..... its tough to kick.
I'm on a sodium restricted diet and have found that 'low fat' just about means 'high sodium' because something has to make up the difference. And I'm with SGT 687: Use Potasium Cloride rather than Sodium Cloride but be careful, too much potassium can affect your heart with negative consequences.
Not disputing anything above, but do not forget that you do need some salt – preferably iodized – or you will be spending the day in the hospital. This from experience.
What about No Salt...It's potasium cloride, not sodium cloride, and it tastes saltier, one uses less.
Salt is a preservative. The more I eat, the longer I live!
I stopped using the salt shaker in January 1982. My doctor noticed that my sodium level was lower than average (but still very safe). I don't eat much highly processed foods (frozen veggies maybe) and I aim for the lower sodium canned goods. You get used to tasting what food is designed to taste like and you don't miss the salt.
It's amazing that people want health care coverage that doesn't cost alot yet they want to eat foods loaded with salt and fat, they want to smoke wherever they want and they want tons of sugar in everything. Wake up people! You can't have everything. Stop putting salt on everything. Stop consuming 3 meals a day at McD's. Stop smoking. If you don't want to then be prepared to pay 10%-20% more every year for health care.
Heinz does offer a No Salt Added ketchup. Many tomato products can be found "no salt added"...canned tomatoes, etc., if this helps anyone.
If you want a measured debate on the merits of making salt reduction a worthy use of federal time and US tax payer dollars, I recommend you read the Good Housekeeping essay on salt (I believe the November 2010 issue). Here is the link: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/nutrition/truth-about-salt
While excess salt intake does increase blood pressure in some people, it's not all people. Secondly, many things affect renal function – ask any 80 year old Spanish, Italian, or French citizen whether they cut back on their intake of cured meats due to the presence of sodium's potential effects on their kidneys and they will look at you in awe.
We have gone down this road before with cholesterol and protein intake, only to have found out that a minority of people, susceptible to dietary cholesterol intake and protein, skewed the data. Maybe we should focus on those who have high blood pressure and/or renal conditions, and see if reductions in dietary sodium actually reduce their disease progression (it might lower BP, but still have no effect on outcome...).
Should Americans cut down their sodium intake? Absolutely. But, ~ 20% (in some states) are still smoking...
There should be no debate – smoking, diabetes, and obesity (all which raise BP) are the greatest global health threats. If we could even be partially successful in lowering the prevalence of these three, then that would be a worthy goal.
"Laws and Rules are for unreasonable folk"
Real freedom: Shelves full of boxes of salt (100% pure NaCl)
and processed foods without too much salt.
None of these things taste like salt, but lemon juice is the closest. I can fool myself with it on some items like chicken. People should keep in mind that sea salt is less processed so therefore the more healthy option if they are using salt, it also contains other minerals that are good for you.
Wanna see the salt problem disappear? Quit looking for it!! How about you eat what you want, and I will eat what I want. If I die tomorrow by a random meteorite, I want to be sure I enjoyed every moment I had. If that includes salt, sex, and guns, then so be it!!! If you die tomorrow, and had led a bland life, in diet and in actions, well, so sad for you. Get your legislation off of me, it sticks and it stinks.
Are you aware that you are also whining with this comment?
U R my hero.
"...experiment with acid." You heard it here first, folks.
America sucks at eating healthy because our health food consists of ghetto versions of unhealthy food which taste horrendously bad. Like nonfat sour cream, sticks of unflavored potato baked in an oven, soy cheese, and sugarless fat free cheese cake.
Where is the good food that starts out healthy instead of all the traumatizing fat-substitutes? Why does America want everything healthy to taste unhealthy? Why does America want its yogurt to taste like a donut?
Simply put, the uneducated spend their spare time watching TV and the when ads TELL them they want yogurt that tastes like a Boston creme pie, etc, etc, they believe it. Marketing dollars are spent to get your attention and put thoughts in your head to buy their advertised products. If you don't use your head before making choices, the marketers win and your health can suffer as a result. That's why.
Here's something to chew on: the salt recommendation mentioned in the article is a guideline – not a law. If you have the need or want to eat more than the gov't RDA of salt, you won't be arrested. Nobody will know (or care) but you. Lighten up folks.
I'm 68 and have high blood pressure challenges. I am also hypersensitive to blood pressure medications. Months ago, after reading the latest research, I adopted a daily 1,000 mg, or lower, salt regime. Trust me, it wasn't easy. But I do read every label of every product I buy and we do lots of home cooking now. The results: I lowered my blood pressure by 35%...both systolic and diastolic, and I reduced my intake of toxic drugs by 50%...to the point where the side-effects went away. You will also find a correlation between reduced salt eating and reduced cholesterol. About the only error I found in this article was the notion that Worcestershire sauce is high salt. Again, read the label. It isn't. As to those who expect the government to do everything for them, or expect their doctor to prescribe drugs so they can keep on living irresponsibly, or who trust corporate entities not to lie to you...grow up and take charge of your own lives. Honestly...this stuff isn't rocket science. Just like smoking...the information is there if you want to pull your heads out of the sand and actually do something worthwhile for your self.
Great commentary. Thank you for sharing your specific situation as well. If nothing else, you influenced me more than the article to modify my cooking habits for my wife , kids, and myself.
tom, if you read the article it doesn't say anything about cutting salt completely form our diets, it simply shows the sodium content of various foods and the suggested intake.
I don't see how anyone can be so crazy/paranoid as to think anyone is telling you what to eat. It's a friendly suggestion, meant to keep you healthy.
I run 5 miles a day at a pretty good pace. Even when it's below freezing outside, I still sweat a lot. When it's hot outside, I'm literally dripping sweat. If I don't get enough salt in my diet, I'll just eat salt by itself. Pickle juice is also good. I've heard some pro sports teams are using pickle juice for their workouts.
Bottom line: Your salt intake should relate to how much you sweat. If you never sweat, you shouldn't have much salt. If you sweat a lot, you need a lot of salt.
I guess this means I should probably stop eating spoonfuls of salt when I'm bored/hungry and don't feel like going anywhere to get food. All this after I weaned myself off of sugar cubes..
Today it's salt...tomorrow sugar, next day fat.....it's always something. How about just trying to use these things in moderation rather than labeling them "bad", and trying to cut them out of our diet completely. If we do that our diet, and goals we set become unsustainable. Just do things in moderation, and try not to swing with the pendulum!
This 'soundoff' comment section is absurd displaying comments in ascending date/time order. Don't know too many people that will scroll down several dozen comments to read what they wrote.
I'll have my doctor advise me as to what level of salt I should be using. Get the F**king government out of my life.
I know we're pretty close to a salt ban (to match trans-fat and smoking bans) which is pretty upsetting to me. Sure, salt is bad if you have too much, but let us make our own decisions (anyone remember what happened when they banned alcohol?). And if you think a salt ban is unlikely, Philly's mayor, Michael Nutter has brought it up already. Remember- the government is only going to take away things at this point, not lift bans!
So the government can just start taxing salt sold to food producers at a higher level. Make it less profitable for them to load cups of salt into everything where it isn't needed.
I tell my patients that a really wonderful substitute for salt on veggies, etc., is to squeeze a fresh lemon on them. It really provides for the tangy, salty flavor naturally.
salt is natural.
So is arsenic, but I won't be adding that to my dinner any time soon.
Veggies are natural too so that's a pretty stupid point. What I'm saying is that the term "natural" does not mean always mean "healthy" though marketing teams love to use it that way. Have you seen the Wendy's commercial for "Natural Cut Fries?" That doesn't mean anything, but it sounds healthier to most people... people like the "doctor" here
"and those with a history of history of hypertension..." Proofread! You're CNN!
Please visit megaheart.com. We have been helping thousands of people cut salt out of their life since 1997. Salt is the cause of many illnesses from heart disease to Meniere's and even stomach cancer. You can learn a great deal at Megaheart and it costs nothing.
the government wants us to cut back on salt intake because we need it for our snowy roads
People use too much salt and other spices these days. Id rather taste the meat than taste the sauce.
Could Heinz please come out with an organic with no salt Ketchup? They have organic. They have no salt added. Please combine the two!! And if this already exists, please let me know where I can get it :)
High levels of dietary sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of kidney disease. Interested in reducing your dietary sodium intake?? Take the National Kidney Foundation's Salt Challenge!! "Like" us at http://www.kidney.org/facebook and click the Salt Challenge tab.
The real problem is all the SHMEAT we're eating (which, by the way, usually has tons of salt to hide/preserve the shmeatiness). Check out NOSHMEAT.COM
I've been trying to avoid salt. What is really surprising is how salt is added to things like a can of black beans where if you look hard enough you can find it unsalted and the taste difference is negligible. Canned tuna is the same. Price is the same but it can be hard to find the unsalted versions.
People don't realize that the salt content keeps increasing, because most people find a little more than usual to taste good. Restaurants and processed food companies keep cranking it up to compete. It causes long term health issues to everyone not just people who are sodium sensitive. That's why the gov is looking into it.
i was really interested in finding helpful information in this article, but it was written so cloyingly and cutely that i had to gouge my eyes out with a bic pen...now i can't read anything, let alone the nutritional data labels on food packaging...thanks a lot.
Let's put the blame, where it should go! The FDA, federal government "Food,Drug Administration". The "FDA" is to blame for allowing the manufacturing companies to put dangerously high amounts of salt in everything. Also, allowing these same
product manufacturing companies to add "Corn Syrup" to everything...I think, now's the time for more people to be in touch with this "Salt" and "Corn Syrup" issue, and complain, after all, it's your "Life" thats at stake.
Dangerous amounts of salt? What a laugh, you know nothing of nutrition. Canned goods represents well under the daily recomendation of salt. Also salt is needed for health. Few people are salt sensitive and those who are sensitive have high blood pressure.
Most of these comments are corn-y and insalting to the reader.
"..........experiment with herbs and acid."
Thank you. I try.
My fav line from "Casablanca" – "We all try, you succeed."
hysterical! – good catch!
Few people are salt sensitive. Why all the nonsense? There is no reason for the article. Why should everyone avoid salt.
It's like reasoning that because there are criminals everyone should be in jail.
What is the obsession with corn?
It is getting so you can't buy any decent food in this country.
You think the food is bad in the US, go to another country and see what you get.
Yeah – like in the UK where partially hydrogenated oils are banned! And in Canada where the same Ocean Spray cranberry juice has much less sugar than the one bought in the US.
Man – we are lucky here in the US!
you get a lot more real, and a lot less fake!
Unfortunately, the problem is not the salt that you add to your food (esp. if you are a healthy adult with normal blood pressure). A few teaspoons here and there, and a sprinkle on your veggies makes food taste better and won't kill you (and you will get some necessary iodine). It's the sodium put into processed foods that gets you. To reduce sodium, it's more effective to cut out processed foods as much as possible (no easy task) and then feel free to put reasonable amounts of salt in the food you cook yourself.
What do you mean by processed food?. Canned food is the best way to preserve food. Canned food is just cooking the canned food in the can.
Home-canned food, yes. Commercially canned food tends to be chock full of sodium.
What I feared here in this article initially was that the "Guide lines are put out by (for one) the U.S.D A!! That means? Gov/ment-Yes? SOOOO!! I'm thinking that "MAYBE" someone wants to start a rumor that "WE" Americans have a salt shortage going on? Ssshhh (not too loud?) With a salt shortage Americans could be raped for more money for salt (IF) it were in short supply? Then I thought? WEll maybe the Gov/ment just wants to head off any possibility of a salt shortage since America needs all the salt it can get for it's ice and snow packed roads? Damn-This global warming is killing "US?"
Did someone forget to take their anti-psychotics today? Or are you just trying to be funny?
The former, methinks.
I'm one who believes that our government is capable of this kind of manipulation. And this is a perfect example of it. True or not.
"Gov/ment," seriously? Too lazy to use two more key-strokes?
Actually it's 3 keystrokes.
Actually, it is just two keystrokes. Sure, the "ern" was left out, but they added a "/", which was an extra keystroke. To type out the entire word, it would have only required two more keystrokes than what they actually typed.
I haven't added salt to my food for 15 yrs. And we don't use any salt when we cook. No problem. But the problem is companies that make prepared food refuse to lower the salt intake. Most of us busy people need to use a can of soup or a frozen dinner, but the companies making them refuse to omit the added salt. You can find some special brands of canned soup, but you'll pay more for them. The government could do a better job of stopping this but the salt lobby is way too powerful. And so poison salt keeps getting added to our food supply.
Total nonsense. People need salt. Why should the government oversee salt usage? Pure baloney.
Why are so many people getting worked up about "the government overseeing" salt intake. They're not. Can you tell the difference between a recommendation and a mandate? Evidently not. By all means, do what you want to do. Eat salt. Nobody is stopping you.
Ewwww. Food without salt is really nasty. I don't know how anyone can deal with eating less salt. I've tried. I've even tried cutting down slightly, but I just can't deal with it. I eat salt by itself sometimes.
try it. when your hands are all puffed up after you eat corn (usually high fructose corn syrup or whatever they change the name to next), try licking a little salt and see if the swelling goes down. if it does, suspect corn. chase it down. don't let it get your life.
Use a salt substitue like NoSalt or Morton's Salt Substitute which contains potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride. Cook without adding salt unless it is needed for the cooking process. Foods like bread require salt to control the yeast. Add salt on the top of the vegetables or meats; you will get the salty flavor that you crave but use less of it.
potassium is one of those too much or not enough things too. (some minerals are salts...so not always clear what people mean when they say salt) i would be careful with potassium too.
Regualar salt (sodium chloride) and potassium chloride work together as a pair. Too much sodium chloride and you have high blood pressure; too much potassium chloride and you have low blood pressure. The vast number of Americans suffer from high blood pressure; not low blood pressure. So try to cut down on the regular salt (sodium chloride) and increase the amount of potassium chloride that you eat. Of course some people suffer from low blood pressure and need added regular salt (sodium chloride).
Actually, Trader Joe's has a 100% whole what, no-salt-added bread that doesn't entirely suck.
Must be my crazy taste buds, but I have tried No-Salt off and on for the past 30 years. It tastes like soap. Bleh. It ruins everything it comes in contact with.
I tried to be all healthy and had no salt added V8. Horrible! Usually anything labeled no-fat, reduced salt, or low/no sugar usually taste awful. You just can't win!
You can wean yourself and/or your family from salt, e.g.low sodium V8. Mix it half and half with the regular (or whatever ratio you can tolerate). Increase the amount of low sodium over time. Be patient.
*hee* I always like pointing out to people that a high dose of potassium chloride is the key ingredient in stopping the heart in death by lethal injection...
i bet it's not the salt that's the problem. i bet all of these products are loaded with corn or corn derivatives and people are allergic to them. not salt. they are probably reacting to the corn...inflammation...swelling...retaining fluid. it's not the salt. a little salt would actually help. yes, you can have too much salt, but salt is a too much or not enough problem. i would be more inclined to think that people would need a little salt if they ate these foods.
You my friend have no idea what you are talking about. Yes, some sodium is essential to the body, but not even close to the quantities that most people consume it in. That increased sodium leads to water retention, increased blood pressure, and ultimately to renal and vascular disease. If you want to remain ignorant and defiant of sound medical and dietary advice, be my guest. But please spare others your like of understanding.
Please listen to MD. Salt acts like a sponge. When you drink fluids, the salt absorbs these fluids, thus thickening your blood (makes blood harder to push, higher blood pressure). The more salt you have in your system, the higher your blood pressure will be, the more "puffy" you will appear. Drop the salt before it drops you!
You lose your bet. You have been conditioned, not informed.
Yes, lets be trendy about our health. If you're looking to be healthy, I'd take a low sodium diet over a low corn diet any day.
I would worry more about sneaky corn than sneaky salt.
I would agree with you. Have you watched the doc "King Corn" that came out a couple years ago?
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