Globe and Mail series on sodium

June 22nd, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  15 Comments

This week until Friday the Globe and Mail is running a series on sodium in our diets. The average person needs about 1500 mg daily. Our average intake? More like 3600. Like sugar, this shit is in everything — even Cheerios. Check out the Salt-O-Meter to find out where this crap lurks.

A harsh lesson about processed foods for younger people who are now suffering hypertension, even in their teens.

Saturday the 20th: Hypertension at age 14 (full article and video)
The taste of things to come
Monday 22nd: Hunting for the “salt gene” and ethnic disparities in sodium tolerance

Check it out all week and find out how to say Na+ Na+ Na+ Na+, Na+ Na+ Na+ Na+, hey hey hey, good bye.

Responses

  1. Stella says:

    June 22nd, 2009at 7:53 pm(#)

    Holy crap! That’s the last time I eat an entire box of Kraft Dinner!

  2. Rhomboid says:

    June 22nd, 2009at 10:03 pm(#)

    You’ve also got to watch out when dining out. Go to Applebee’s and have a quesadilla burger and hello 4,410 mg sodium.

  3. K says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 7:12 am(#)

    I keep seeing in the comments, people say they just don’t have time to cook. I call bs. I, and friends of mine, work full time and go to school full time, AND find time to cook. I’ve found it helpful to be on an email list for recipes – Epicurious’ once-daily healthy recipe is my favorite. Even if I don’t use it, I can get an idea of something healthy and tasty to have for dinner.

  4. Liz says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 7:59 am(#)

    Great series from Globe & Mail. I’ve been trying to limit my sodium intake, and even when focusing primarily on whole foods, I find I can run over just because of the small amounts of sodium in cheese, dijon mustard, bread, etc. I’ve found low-sodium varieties and try to do as much cooking at home as possible. I also have found that I can’t rely on “low sodium” labels. I’ve seen low sodium broth with 570mg of sodium per 1 cup, and then I’ve also seen “no salt added” broth with only 80mg of sodium per 1 Cup. If I assumed one low sodium variety was as good as another, I would have made a very bad mistake!

    One thing I’ve noticed since I started consciously limiting my sodium intake is that processed and restaurant foods have started tasting too salty for me. It’s amazing how quickly our tastebuds can adjust to a lower level of “normal” for sodium intake.

    Love the site – thanks for the continuing great content!

  5. Chris says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 11:58 am(#)

    I need to add some salt apparantly… :-)

    OK, probably not, but I generally don’t eat anything processed other than protein powder on most weekdays unless I’m too lazy to make oatmeal and I grab 1/2 a multigrain bagel.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 12:49 pm(#)

    Fitday tells me I’m just under 3K/day for the past two months. Oy.

    I found a list of various organizations’ sodium intake recommendations here; the site itself is some kind of fad diet thing, but the listed numbers appear to check out. They seem to agree on a range from 1,500 to 3,000, with a few exceptions.

    I have plenty of time to cook, but it’s damned difficult to find low-sodium components, and when they’re available they often cost more. I know I’ve complained about canned beans here before, but that’s only one annoyance. I can’t make everything from scratch, people. Pasta sauce? Yes. Pasta? No.

  7. beforewisdom says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 2:30 pm(#)

    Interesting post! Based on what I’ve read over the years I didn’t think there was any need for sodium unless you were living on food made from scratch and were sweating gallons a day.

    I didn’t think the need or the maximum tolerable amount of sodium would be that high.

    This is good news for me. I make a lot of my own food from scratch and I see I now have some room to enjoy some sodium — guilt free.

  8. beforewisdom says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 2:31 pm(#)

    Basically, any dish you don’t make from scratch is going to pump your sodium intake up.

  9. Mistress Krista says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 2:48 pm(#)

    I’m going to be that annoying jagoff who says it is easy to make your own pasta. :) It’s actually quite fun and doesn’t take much longer if you have a pasta maker and a food processor. What you lose in prep time you make up in cooking time.

    Step 1 – throw flour and egg into food processor
    Step 2 – chill for 20 min
    Step 3 – roll thru pasta maker
    Step 4 – throw in boiling water for literally something like 2 min

    The fun part here is trying different flour blends to make various types of whole grain noodles.

  10. Mistress Krista says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 2:50 pm(#)

    The very rare case for more sodium would be someone whose adrenal glands/kidneys aren’t adequately regulating their input-output. I always crack wise when I get my blood pressure done — it’s so low I really should be dead — I tell the nurse I’m going to start medicating with Doritos. It’s good cheap laffs.

  11. beforewisdom says:

    June 23rd, 2009at 6:48 pm(#)

    @MK, #10

    I prefer a dose of kosher pickles taken 3 times daily

  12. palindrome says:

    June 26th, 2009at 11:42 am(#)

    Here’s an interesting take on sodium from Scott Abel on t-nation: http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/sodium_your_secret_weapon

    Of course he’s talking about bodybuilders manipulating their sodium levels. But in general I’m thinking that people worry too much about this.

  13. MaryL says:

    June 26th, 2009at 7:25 pm(#)

    Eep! I have ridiculously low blood pressure (95/60), so I’ve been assuming that because I’m nowhere near hypertensive, I’m not salt sensitive. But according to at least one study, some people who are not hypertensive may still be salt sensitive.

    People who are salt-sensitive experience an exaggerated blood pressure elevation when they are given a salt load. (There is no standard way to test for salt-sensitivity, and such tests are currently done only in a research setting.) While salt-sensitivity is felt to be a risk factor for developing hypertension, many salt-sensitive people are, in fact, not hypertensive at all. The Indiana study suggests that, while hypertension is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, it’s not the hypertension that causes early death in salt-sensitive people – it’s the salt-sensitivity itself. That is, in these individuals, high dietary salt causes cardiovascular disease even if their blood pressures remain normal.

  14. MaryL says:

    June 26th, 2009at 7:31 pm(#)

    Eep! Krista, I have dead low blood pressure, too (something like 93/58), so I’ve been assuming being so NOT hypertensive means that I’m not salt sensitive and don’t have to worry about salt. But at least one study suggests that some people with normal or low blood pressure are genuinely salt sensitive.

    People who are salt-sensitive experience an exaggerated blood pressure elevation when they are given a salt load. (There is no standard way to test for salt-sensitivity, and such tests are currently done only in a research setting.) While salt-sensitivity is felt to be a risk factor for developing hypertension, many salt-sensitive people are, in fact, not hypertensive at all. The Indiana study suggests that, while hypertension is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, it’s not the hypertension that causes early death in salt-sensitive people – it’s the salt-sensitivity itself. That is, in these individuals, high dietary salt causes cardiovascular disease even if their blood pressures remain normal.

  15. SR says:

    May 22nd, 2010at 11:05 am(#)

    Parents do not overlook the sodium content in your child’s favorite food. High blood pressure is not an adult only disease only anymore. Read nutrition fact on ALL frozen and processes food packages!!


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