Posts belonging to Category sodium



Reducing Sodium in Restaurant Foods

 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares the following press release reminding us to consider how much sodium we may be consuming when we eat out.

Americans eat out at fast food or dine-in restaurants four or five times a week. Just one of those meals might contain more than an entire day’s recommended amount of sodium.  CDC has strategies for health departments and restaurants to work together to offer healthier choices for consumers who want to lower their sodium intake. The report, “From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants,” is published in today’s issue of CDC’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

sodiumOn average, foods from fast food restaurants contain 1,848 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories and foods from dine-in restaurants contain 2,090 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories.

The U. S. Dietary Guidelines recommend the general population limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.

“The bottom line is that it’s both possible and life-saving to reduce sodium, and this can be done by reducing, replacing and reformulating,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “When restaurants rethink how they prepare food and the ingredients they choose to use, healthier options become routine for customers.”

The report outlines several ways health departments and restaurants have worked together to offer lower-sodium choices:

  • Health department dietitians help restaurants analyze the sodium content of their foods and recommend lower-sodium ingredients.
  • Restaurants clearly post nutrition information, including sodium content, at the order counter and on menus or offer lower-sodium items at lower cost.
  • Health departments and restaurants explain to food service staff why lower sodium foods are healthier and how to prepare them.

The report also features examples of sodium reduction successes.  In Philadelphia, the health department worked with 206 restaurants to create the “Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-out Initiative.”  After evaluating menus for sodium content, participating restaurants began choosing lower sodium ingredients and creating lower sodium recipes. After nine months, analyses of two popular dishes offered by 20 of the restaurants showed sodium was reduced by 20 percent.

“The story in Philadelphia shows what can be done,” Dr. Frieden said. “It’s not about giving up the food you love, but providing lower sodium options that taste great.”

To learn more about sodium and how it affects health, visit www.cdc.gov/salt.  Reducing sodium is one way that Million Hearts, a national public-private initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, is working with communities to keep people healthier and less likely to need health care www.millionhearts.hhs.gov.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

The Challenge…21 Days to Change Your Salty Ways

Take the American Heart Association Challenge and change your salty ways!

Salty-SnacksThe heart and stroke experts launched a three-week Sodium Swap Challenge that started on Jan. 7. The group is calling upon Americans to identify and track the Salty Six — the foods in their diet loaded with extra salt that increase their risk for heart disease and stroke. The goal is for Americans to limit sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams each day. Currently, the typical American consumes more than twice that.

Never mind giving up the salt shaker, it will take more than that to lower your sodium intake. Americans can dramatically reduce their daily salt intake by cutting bread, cold cuts and cured meats from their diet, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Limiting condiments and reading nutritional labels are other ways to kick a high-sodium habit, the experts noted in an association news release. They also said people can change their palate and enjoy foods with less salt in just 21 days.

“To get started with the association’s challenge, we ask that consumers get familiar with the food labels and nutrition facts for the foods they eat and track their sodium consumption over the first two days to get an idea of how much they are eating, which I’m sure will be surprising to many people,” said Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the associations and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. “Then, over the course of the next three weeks, consumers will use the Salty Six as their guide to help lower their sodium intake.”

During the first week of the challenge, Americans are asked to limit consumption of bread, rolls, cold cuts and cured meats. A slice of bread can contain more than 200 mg of sodium and one serving of turkey cold cuts as much as 1,050 mg. It’s also recommended that you check food labels and track sodium consumption daily.

For the second week, Americans are asked to opt for lower-salt versions of pizza and poultry. The idea is to choose foods with less cheese or meat and more vegetables. Poultry should also be skinless and not processed or fried.

Focus on soup and sandwiches during the third week, the associations said. Soups often contain up to 940 mg of sodium per serving. Layering meats, cheese and condiments to a sandwich can add more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

After three weeks, the experts said challenge participants should notice a difference in how they feel after eating and how their food tastes.

More information

The American Heart Association provides more information on the Sodium Swap Challenge.

What Can You Eat for 100 Calories?

100The 100 calorie packs available in most major food markets can be a handy way to maintain snack portion control between meals.

The challenge, read the nutrition label and see what the salt, fat and carbohydrate intake is in this low calorie snack. It may be 100 calories, but it is not necessarily a healthy snack.

The site, fruits & veggies, more matters, at www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/healthy-weight-management, recently issued a 100 calorie list of foods that make for healthy and low calorie snacking. Here are their suggestions:

 100 Calorie Snacks

Tortilla Chips  – 3/4 c

Strawberries -  2 cups

Sliced Peppers -  2 cups

Pretzels -  1 ounce

Muffin  – 1 ounce (1 mini)

Lettuce, shredded -20 cups

Ice Cream (not premium) 3/8 cup

Fresh Blueberries  – 1 1/4 cup

Donut 3/8 -  whole

Cucumbers, sliced  – 7 cups

Chocolate Chip Cookies – 2-2inch cookies

Cherry Tomatoes -  4 cups

Cheese P-Nut Butter Snack Cracker  – 3

Cantaloupe Cubes – 2 cups

Canned Peaches (in juice) – 1 1/2 cup

Bagel -  1/4 of 5 oz. bagel

Baby Carrots – 2 cups

Apple Slices -  2 cups

American Cheese (thin slices) -2 slices

100% Vegetable Juice -2 cups (16 fluid ounces)

100% Orange Juice – 7 fluid oz.

Happy Snacking!

Why are Fast Foods So Salty in U.S.and Canada ?

Did you ever read the salt content of fast foods? Scary! What is even scarier is the news that the same fast foods sold abroad have less salt in them.

According to a study that appeared in the April 16 issues of the  Canadian Medical Association’s journal, CMAJ there are significant differences in the amount of salt in fast foods sold in fast-food restaurants in the U.S., Canada and other countries.

Study researchers examined the salt content of more than 2,100 food items in seven product categories sold by Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

fastResearchers found that McDonald’s fast food Chicken McNuggets in Canada contained 2.5 times more sodium than those in the United Kingdom. There were 600 milligrams of sodium (1.5 grams of salt) in a 3.5-ounce serving in Canada, but the same serving size in the United Kingdom contained 240 milligrams of sodium (0.6 grams of salt).

Norman Campbell, of the University of Calgary, and colleagues, said in a journal news release that”Canadian companies indicate they have been working to reduce sodium but the high sodium in these foods indicates voluntary efforts aren’t working.

These high levels indicate failure of the current government approach that leaves salt reduction solely in the hands of industry,” the researchers reported. “Salt-reduction programs need to guide industry and oversee it with targets and timelines for foods, monitoring and evaluation, and stronger regulatory measures if the structured voluntary efforts are not effective.”

The researchers concluded,”Decreasing salt in fast foods would appear to be technically feasible, and is likely to produce important gains in population health — the average salt levels of fast foods are high, and these foods are eaten often.”

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, April 11, 2012