Six Sodium Booby Traps to Watch Out For

Salt in LettersThe American Heart Association reminded us this week that people are consuming too much salt. The AHA has put together a list of the top food offenders they call the Salty Six:

  1. Breads and rolls
  2. Cold cuts and cured meats
  3. Pizza
  4. Poultry
  5. Soup
  6. Sandwiches

These foods often contains copious amounts of sodium, which our taste buds don’t necessarily discern. A single sandwich may contain half or more of the daily recommended salt intake!

Reminder – Salt is made of sodium and chloride, both necessary elements for proper bodily function. Salt is also one of the oldest known food preservatives and flavor enhancers. But sometimes too much of a good thing is, well…not good anymore. Excess sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

The AHA started taking a firmer stand on sodium this year, sending a strongly worded submission to the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Services, an arm of the USDA) stating that the industry information is misleading and not based on scientific evidence.

The AHA is also recommending a reduction in the daily overall sodium consumption from 2300 mg to 1500mg. That’s going to be a challenge, because our current consumption average is close to 4000 mg a day!

About 65-70% of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods, so an obvious solution is to cook more at home, where we can control the amount of salt we add to a dish.

What to do at the supermarket:

Here’s a list we put together of 9 ways to reduce your salt intake. Sodium is present in many supermarket foods including cereal, breads, beverages, and more. When reading a nutrition label, spend a moment looking at the sodium amount. Think of that as a percentage of the 2300mg daily salt allotment and compare it to the product’s calories as a percentage of your daily calorie intake. If the ratios are similar or lower for sodium, that’s good.