If you were doing a crossword puzzle and the clue was sodium…it is likely the answer would be salt.  Salt or sodium chloride  is the  solution for the  New Dietary Guidelines too!  These  Guidelines  come out  from the USDA every 5 years.

The  new USDA guidelines are not surprising.  They tell us to eat less and eat more fruits and vegetables.  But what is surprising is that they are suggesting that for anyone over age 51,  or for those who are  African-American or for those who have  high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (CKD) that they cut their sodium content down to 1500 mgs of salt.  2400 mgs is one teaspoon of salt. This they say will reduce the number of people who need kidney replacement therapy.

Surprise! “ Excess sodium is a leading cause of fluid retention and unhealthy fluid balance. It can also exacerbate high blood pressure by placing an additional burden on the heart. Nutritionists claim that people in the United States consume as much as five times the daily recommended amount of sodium in their diet. While many people have put down the salt shaker, it takes more to cut sodium significantly. Many common foods have high sodium content, and some of them may surprise you.”

Five times the daily recommended amount of sodium?  How can this be?  That would amount to 12,000 mgs of salt per day or 5 tsp of salt.  How can we get that much salt?  Well, anything you eat that is processed…meaning anything that comes out of a box, a jar or a can contains salt. “Salt (sodium chloride) serves a number of purposes. It helps prevent spoiling by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold. Salt also brings out the flavors in food. For example, salt accentuates the sweetness in cakes and cookies. Salt also helps disguise metallic or chemical aftertastes in products such as soft drinks. In addition, salt reduces the perception of dryness in foods such as crackers and pretzels.”

Let’s say that you were trying to eat out fast food and wanted to eat out “healthy.”    You could choose  a tender grill chicken and a salad with Newmans lowfat Italian dressing and a small coke.   You would be eating almost 2,300 mgs of salt just in one meal.   Or if you wanted to eat not so healthy, how about having a baconator, small fries and a 12 oz coke?  That would be over 2600 mgs of salt.  Remember, this is one meal.  We are not counting breakfast, snacks, beverages and dinner in the mix.

So you can see that it will be pretty easy to eat way more sodium than the 1500 mgs that is suggested per day if you choose to eat fast food.  Now let’s look at some other processed food ( all are 3.5 oz. of the stated food)  wheat flakes 1000 mgs; processed cheese 1189 mgs;  crackers 1100 mgs,;  pancakes  425 mgs;  popcorn 1940;  canned ham 1100 mgs;  salad dressing 700-1300 mgs;  hot dogs 1100 mg;  bologna 1300mgs;  tuna 800 mgs.  WOW !  What a lot of sodium.   1 TBS  Soy sauce is 920 mgs;  1/4 cup bread crumbs,240mgs; 1/2 c beans 240 mgs. and 10 potato chips have 240 mgs  of sodium.

How will it be possible to cut our sodium levels to 1500 mgs. per day?  The only answer that can be seen is  to cook everything from scratch.  Use no processed foods…nothing from a can, box or jar. Is this realistic?  We think not.  We are a fast food generation and we do everything on the run.    Also fast food is cheaper than buying fresh.  In this economy people are scrimping on things that are more expensive.Fast foods  happen to be layered and loaded with salt, sugar and fat  to make them more palatable.

What are your thoughts on these recommendations?  Do you see other ways to cut sodium intake without cooking everything from scratch?  Why not try eating 1500 mgs of sodium for a day and see how it goes? Read labels and keep track of what you are eating. Then come and let us know what you think.

Here is a resource to take a look at that summarizes the new guidelines.

“Bye for Now” From The Two Whos

The Saturday Morning Rendezvous will be a place to stop in and meet up on a weekend morning. Have a cup of tea or coffee, a special breakfast, and relax and catch up from the week’s fast pace. The Two Whos will focus Saturday’s content on physical wellness , food and fitness of all types. Come back and rendezvous with us! See you next Saturday! Thanks for visiting

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