Tag Archives: salt

Getting under the skin of blood pressure regulation

FoodFacts.com has been keeping our community up to date about controversies surrounding sodium levels. While it appears that we consume far too much salt on a daily basis, there have been conflicting studies about just how much is too much, how we need to control sodium levels in our diets and the effects of consuming too much of it. But today we found information that really got under our skin … literally.

According to new studies out of Vanderbilt University, a different and important organ system is significant to our bodies’ blood pressure control abilities. It appears that our skin stores sodium. Traditionally the model for blood pressure regulation has been relegated to the kidney, circulatory system and the brain. But that model still left questions about the reasons for elevated blood pressure in 90 percent of hypertension patients.

In these studies, researchers sought to find other ways the body stores sodium and they discovered that the skin, the immune system cells and lymph capillaries do, in fact, help to regulate sodium balance and blood pressure.

Mice who were fed a high-salt diet had large amounts of salt accumulate in their skin. The immune system cells seemed to sense the sodium and activated a protein called TONEBP. This protein increased a growth factor in the immune cells which in turn builds lymph vessel capacity and helps to clear the sodium.

The study shows that elimination of the TONEBP gene in immune cells prevented the normal response to a high-salt diet and increased blood pressure. Likewise, blocking signaling through the lymph vessel receptor inhibited the changes in lymph vessel density and resulted in salt-sensitive hypertension.

The findings support the idea that the immune and lymphatic systems in the skin work together to regulate electrolyte  composition and blood pressure. Defects in this regulatory system may be associated with salt-sensitive hypertension.

To study the clinical relevance of sodium storage in humans, the investigators implemented special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies to detect sodium. They reported earlier this year that sodium is stored in muscle and skin in human beings, and that sodium storage increases with age and is associated with hypertension.

In future studies they intend to explore the meaning of that sodium storage. Will it, for example, elevate the risk for cardiovascular disease? They are planning to follow 2000 individuals for five years to measure tissue sodium two times per year to determine if elevated tissue sodium levels are linked to heart attacks, stroke or other arterial diseases.

There’s salt everywhere in our food supply. FoodFacts.com knows that our sodium consumption really isn’t coming from the salt shakers on our tables. This new information about how sodium is stored in the skin gives us a better idea of what our bodies are doing with all that salt and how it can possibly be affecting our health. We’ll be watching for the new studies exploring the relationship of cardiac disease and the salt-skin phenomenon. It’s just one more reason we should all be as aware as we possibly can be of our sodium consumption. We should all make our best effort to rid our diets of salt-laden processed foods. Let’s keep the salt on our tables where it belongs.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603135314.htm

The Power of Salt

FoodFacts.com is always interested in the latest information available to us regarding the alarming levels of sodium in our food supply. We devote a lot of blog space and Facebook posts to revealing that information and highlighting those products which contain far too much sodium and why we should all be so concerned.

There’s some interesting new information coming from the Institute of Medicine that is saying that there is really no reason to limit sodium to under 1500 milligrams per day. This is the current recommended daily intake for healthy adults. They went further and cited a level of 2300 milligrams as the acceptable limit. Unfortunately, Americans are consuming an average of 3400 milligrams of sodium every day – and the majority of that isn’t coming from a salt shaker. Instead it’s coming from processed foods.

The American Heart Association has no intention of changing the current recommendation for daily sodium consumption. In fact, they find many problems with this new information from the Institute of Medicine. We tend to agree. And we don’t want to forget a basic premise that really can’t be argued. The more salt we consume, the more salt we want. We crave it.

And that seems to be the logical conclusion for why manufacturers put so much of it in processed foods. It seems to keep us coming back for more. It appears that even babies can become addicted to the taste of salt. According to the National Institute of Health, babies who are exposed early to starchy, salty foods develop a preference for the salty taste by as early as six months old. Those babies exposed to salt consumed 55 percent more than their unexposed peers. The preference has been shown to last into the preschool years. These findings indicate the significant role of early dietary experiences in shaping taste preferences that last into childhood and could potentially influence taste preferences in adults. FoodFacts.com Baby & Toddler Nutrition Guide points out some very disturbing sodium levels in products designed specifically for the youngest generations, effectively “hooking” the youngest among us on salty flavors before they’re old enough to know what they are. For adults, it’s been found that people who lower their sodium intake for just two or three months experience a significant decrease in salt cravings.

While studies on salt do tend to be conflicting in terms of safe levels of consumption, we do have enough information to understand clearly that high levels of sodium are a contributing factor for many chronic health conditions and can be dangerous to our well-being. We can also clearly understand that salt is pretty addictive – and that addiction seems to originate in our taste buds. It’s something that even babies and toddlers are vulnerable too.

FoodFacts.com will continue with the concept that fresh food is the best food. The sodium levels that we find so disturbing aren’t coming from our home kitchens … they’re coming from processed foods that are much too prevalent in our pantries. The healthiest thing we can do for ourselves and our children is prepare foods at home, with the fresh ingredients we know and understand and the sodium levels we can gauge correctly for ourselves.
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2013/05/salt_dietary_guidelines_why_do_food_manufacturers_use_so_much_salt.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/health/panel-finds-no-benefit-in-sharply-restricting-sodium.html?pagewanted=1&hp&_r=0

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/nidcd-20.htm

A must read for the food-conscious consumer … Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

FoodFacts.com wanted to let our community know about a powerful new book titled Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. We’re sure that the food-conscious consumers in our own network will find it a fascinating read.

The author is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. In this important new book, Michael Moss explores how food and beverage companies are using salt, sugar and fat to addict consumers to their products so that we keep right on purchasing and eating them. His book links the rise of the processed food industry to the obesity epidemic plaguing our nation.

The average American is currently eating triple the amount of cheese that was consumed in 1970. We’re eating 70 pounds of sugar every day. And we’re consuming 8500 mg of salt daily (that’s double the recommended amount). That salt is coming directly from processed food products – not the salt we’re adding to our meals at the table. Currently one of every three adults and one of every five children is clinically obese. 26 million Americans have diabetes.

Michael Moss believes he understands how we arrived at this critical point in our nation’s health and in Salt Sugar Fat, he’s explaining it all. You’ll find examples from some of the most profitable food companies in existence like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Kellogg and Cargill. And he’s included the research to back it up.

The author takes the reader to the food labs where scientists calculate the “bliss point” for sugary beverages and enhance the “mouthfeel” of fats. He unearths the marketing techniques used to redirect consumers from the health risks of products, specifically focusing on the use of specific phrases and words to mislead the consumer into believing that there are actually health benefits connected to products that contain ingredients that are unhealthy. And he even speaks with company executives who confess that companies could never produce truly healthy alternatives to products that are currently available for purchase. Michael Moss brings to light the idea that the processed food industry could not exist without salt, sugar and fat.

FoodFacts.com understands the concerns of our community when it comes to the foods they purchase for themselves and their families. We know you seek to provide the healthiest choices in the products you purchase. This is an important read.

Find out more about the book here: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/how-companies-use-salt-sugar-and-fat-to-addict-us/fat/?goback=.gde_2739521_member_208498208

Campbell’s Soup just got salty… again.

campbell-soup

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Do you recall the older winter-time commercial of a snowman dragging his feet into his home from a blizzard; and sitting down to a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup? As he took one sip the snow melted off and what was left was a little boy with a huge smile? That’s Campbell’s. They’re marketing and ads have proven to be successful for many years now, because they are the most popular soup can on store shelves. Why? It could be their advertising, their coupons and incentives, or it could be their salt-filled broth that most Americans have grown to adore.

Fact of the matter is that people-love-salt. Salt on pasta, salt on eggs, salt on mashed potatoes, salt on chicken, the list goes on and on. Campbell’s took notice of this a LONG time ago. They’ve been producing soups with high sodium levels since they first opened their factories in 1869. One 1/2 cup serving of their chicken noodle soup is 890mg of sodium. That’s almost HALF of your daily value of sodium for one day, in just HALF a cup. So basically, you consume one whole can, you’ve had your recommended sodium for the entire day in just 5 minutes, and maybe a little more.

Well, once the ball got rolling that our country and others are now facing huge numbers of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes; many people began to take initiative and eat healthier. Which, is great. Less people are buying Hungry-Man XXL frozen dinners, KFC fried chicken, Post Fruity Pebbles, etc. That’s when Kashi got more popular, Amy’s organic meals, and other products boasting natural ingredients, less sugar, and no cholesterol. Larger food companies, however, panicked. They’ve created products for years now, known for being tasty, fun and great, but are now all of a sudden detrimental to your health?

Campbell’s took a huge leap a few years back, cutting sodium by nearly half in most of their soup products. They even started a new line of healthier soups, Select Harvest. They figured, this is what people want, so they’re going to buy it; and these new products are going to fly off the shelves. Well we don’t have the exact numbers, but we’re sure millions at least tried the sodium-reduced soups. However, when you cutout such a hefty portion of sodium, you have to realize the taste will be very different. Also, campbell’s didn’t slowly remove the salt, they ripped the band-aid and cut the amount by half all at once. For those who sought their products for taste rather than nutritional value, we’re assuming they didn’t like it. Sales steadily dropped over a period of time.

Campbell’s newly appointed CEO, Denise Morrison, announced that she had to bring sales and taste back to their product; with the return of salt. “For me it’s about stabilizing company sales first and then planning growth beyond that.” Morrison plans to continue selling the new sodium-pumped soups until they slowly begin to create healthier options again. However, sales and profit come first.

Too much Salt & not enough Potassium, increases your risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death

heart-disease2-cl-article-l

Foodfacts.com looks into the recent study of the harms of having to much salt intake in your diet and to little amounts of potassium. Earlier studies had found an association between high blood pressure and high levels of salt consumption and low levels of potassium intake. The combination of high salt — sometimes called sodium — and low potassium appears to convey a stronger risk for cardiovascular disease and death than each mineral alone, the study authors said.

“The combination of high sodium and low potassium is really a double whammy for cardiovascular risk and for mortality,” said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although sodium and potassium act independently, high potassium levels can counteract some of the effect of high sodium, Hu said. “But the adverse effects of high sodium cannot be completely offset by a high potassium diet,” he said.

For the study, published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hu’s team collected data on 12,267 people who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, from 1988-2006. In addition to mortality data, this survey contains dietary information.

To find out the role of salt and potassium and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers looked at the levels of these minerals and the ratio between them. Over an average of 14.8 years of follow-up, 2,270 people died. Of these, 825 died from cardiovascular disease — which includes stroke — and 443 died of heart disease.

After taking into account variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, weight, high blood pressure, education and physical activity, Hu’s group found that high salt intake was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, while high potassium intake was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying.

What’s more, high salt consumption coupled with low potassium intake was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart disease, the researchers added.

“We should continue to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet, especially in processed foods,” Hu said. “We should also promote high consumption of potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables,” he added. “Those things should go hand-in-hand.”

While the study uncovered an association between heart disease and the two minerals, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.

Commenting on the study, Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said, “The findings are not surprising to me.”

The benefits of potassium to counterbalance the effects of salt for controlling high blood pressure have been known for years, but get little attention, Sandon said. “There have been hints in the past research literature that the ratio of the two may be more important than the nutrients individually,” she said.

Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with better heart health, Sandon said. “Fruits and vegetables are your best natural sources of potassium and they are naturally low in sodium,” she explained.

“I agree with the authors that more emphasis should be put on the importance of getting more potassium while lowering sodium intake,” Sandon said.

“The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet does just that and has been around for quite some time now,” she stated. “It encourages people to eat more foods high in potassium (fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) while eating less sodium-laden foods.”

Sandon noted that this is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake while lowering intake of foods high in sodium.

Those guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) for most people, and to less than 1,500 milligrams for people 51 or older, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, regardless of their age.

Information provided by Health Day

Top 10 Scariest Food Additives

Here at foodfacts.com, we like to keep our readers informed of all current and up-to-date information regarding health and food. Here is a recent news article discussing the 10 scariest food additives in some of the most popular food products most can find in their pantry.

There was a time when “fruit flavored” and “cheese flavored” meant “made with real fruit” and “made with real cheese.” Today? It’s artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki’s tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food.

The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Why they’re legal is a mystery to us. Some of them might be backed by powerful lobby groups, while others probably survive simply because some guy at the FDA has too much paperwork on his desk and hasn’t made time to adequately review the data.

Below are 10 of the most dubious ingredients hiding in your food, compliments of Eat This, Not That! 2011. Even if you’re not convinced of their danger, you have to admit this: The more filler ingredients you cut from your diet, the more space you have for wholesome, nutritious foods.

Scary Ingredient #1: Olestrapringles
A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can’t break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.

Why it’s scary: In the late ’90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter & Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.” Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed in to a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn’t move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processers add some nutrients back, but it’s unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequetly replaced.

Furthermore, just last week I tweeted that an animal study at Purdue University found that fake fats like Olestra may cause more weight gain than real fat.

Where you’ll find it: Lay’s Light chips, Pringles Light chips

Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring
An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.stove-top

Why it’s scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it’s relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as “known to cause cancer” earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you’d be wise to avoid it as much as you can.

Where you’ll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix

Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin
An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.sweet-n-low

Why it’s scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.

Where you’ll find it: Sweet ‘N Low, TaB cola

Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate
A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.

Why it’s scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.

Where you’ll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll

Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.
.orbit

Why they’re scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren’t even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.

Where you’ll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum

Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.sandwich

Why it’s scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn’t over. At Long John Silver’s, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that’s about the maximum you should consume in a single day.

Where you’ll find it: McDonald’s McChicken, Long John Silver’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites
Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth. fig-enwton

Why it’s scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you’re among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won’t hurt you. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a test.

Where you’ll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons

Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide
A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner bagel

Why it’s scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, “exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.” I’ll put it more concisely: Avoid it.

Where you’ll find it: Dunkin’ Donuts bagels, McDonald’s burger buns

Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan
A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.popsicle

Why it’s scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.

Where you’ll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles

Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate
An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.4036996_orig

Why it’s scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary—a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.

Retrieved from: Yahoo.com

7/6: National Fried Chicken Day! Read before you order!

chick-fil-a-logo2

Here at FoodFacts.com, we like to keep our followers up-to-date with current trends, research, and events. Today we share with you that July 6, 2011 is deemed National Fried Chicken Day. In fact, July 6th has celebrated this “holiday” for many years now. Although we aren’t so sure how it was originated, we do know that many people do choose to celebrate this day, especially with the immense patriotism still lurking from Independence Day.

We too would like to celebrate this holiday, but in a more health-conscious manner. You see, fried chicken can be very high in trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Therefore, we would like to take the time to reveal some products you may want to learn more about, prior to indulging. Today we have decided to feature the very popular chicken-based franchise, Chick-Fil-A.

We’ll start off with the breakfast Chicken Biscuit. This sandwich provides about 51% of the daily value for sodium alone. With only a 5.1 oz serving, and 440 calories, 1,230mg of sodium is quite a lot, especially to start off the day! biscuit2Although this sandwich is high in protein with 17g, and also carries a decent amount of iron, this still cannot compensate for the 8g of saturated fat and variety of controversial ingredients. You may want to replace ordering this ingredient-packed sandwich with an item more nutrient-dense and filling, such as the yogurt parfait with granola. This may be a better option for a morning meal or snack.

Then there’s the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe. The pros of this sandwich, it has a good amount of protein, vitamin C, and calcium, most likely from the tomato, lettuce, and single slice of cheese. However, this 570 calorie sandwich also contains 8g saturated fat, and 27g total fat. These amounts count for approximately 40-42% your daily value of saturated fat and total fat, which are undeniably very high numbers for one single sandwich. spicy_chicken_sandwich2We must also point out that this sandwich contains almost 100 different ingredients. Some of which include monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, a variety of coloring additives, and TBHQ, all controversial ingredients which we have thoroughly discussed in prior blog posts. To get your chicken “fix” without all the extra mess, you may want to instead try the char-grilled chicken garden salad, without dressing or on the side.

To find chicken and other recipes for today and the rest of the week, try the Foodfacts.com recipe page!

The 5 Saltiest Meals of 2011

Imagine pouring one and a half teaspoons of salt directly into your mouth. Can you taste it? Blah, blech! You’d shed an ocean of tears trying to choke down those tongue-tingling crystals.

Yet, if you’re a typical American, you eat that much salt every single day. And that’s one primary reason why 50 percent of us are considered at risk for high blood pressure.

I know, that sounds impossible—you seldom if ever reach for the salt shaker, right? Well, you don’t have to: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that most of us consume about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, but only 5 percent of it comes from home cooking. Some occurs in foods naturally, but the overwhelming majority of the sodium you eat—77 percent—comes foods sold in supermarkets and restaurants. Heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans, and sodium is one of the primary culprits.

We should be eating no more than 2,300 mg a day, and less—about 1,500 mg—if we’re at risk for high blood pressure. And yet, while researching my latest book, The Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet, I uncovered countless restaurant meals with one, two, even three days’ worth of salt in them. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a peek at the saltiest dishes coming from America’s kitchens.

1. WORST PASTA: Ruby Tuesday Mediterranean Shrimp Pasta
3,933 mg sodium
1,086 calories
63 g fat
ruby_tuesday_med_pasta

Sodium Equivalent: 11 Large Orders of McDonald’s French Fries

Somebody needs to tell Ruby Tuesday that to make “Mediterranean” pasta, you don’t need to actually boil the noodles in Mediterranean seawater. Ruby Tuesday makes only one pasta dish with fewer than 2,000 mg of sodium (almost an entire day’s worth!), and it has only two pasta dishes with fewer than 3,000 mg. The other four pasta dishes on the menu each have more than 3,000 mg.

2. WORST BREAKFAST:IHOP Thick-Cut Bone-In Ham & Eggs
4,310 mg sodium
1,170 calories
61 g fat (19 g saturated)
ihop_bone-in_ham_eggs1
Sodium Equivalent: 37 servings of Planter’s Cocktail Peanuts (that’s more than three 12-oz cans!)

IHOP is another chain known for egregious sodium levels. Even foods that sound relatively sodium-free are swimming in the stuff. Take an order of Buttermilk Pancakes. One order—5 pancakes—has 2,640 mg sodium. Things turn especially ugly when you start adding meat to the plate. You’d be wise to avoid any dish with steak or ham, which consistently contribute to a total of more than 2,000 mg per dish.

3. WORST “HEALTHY” ENTREE: Applebee’s Weight Watchers Chipotle Lime Chicken
4,990 mg sodium
490 calories
12 g fat (2 g saturated)
salt
Sodium Equivalent: 31 servings of Ruffles (that’s more than two “Family Size” bags!)

Avoiding salt at Applebee’s is nearly impossible. Not even the “healthy” selections pass muster. The six items on the Under 550 Calories menu average 2,341 mg of sodium per entree. The five items on the Weight Watchers menu average 2,448 mg. Even the side dishes are dangerous. A side of Loaded Mashed Potatoes will cost you 1,340 mg, and a side of Broccoli Cheddar Soup will cost you 1,690. If you order anything off this menu, you’d be wise to stick to sodium-free foods for the rest of the day.

4. SALTIEST APPETIZER: Applebee’s Appetizer Sampler
6,830 mg sodium
2,590 calories
173 g fat (54 g saturated)
app
Sodium Equivalent: 370 Funyuns (that’s more than four bags of ‘em!)

Restaurant appetizer samplers are notoriously riddled with sodium, but Applebee’s is a full-blown tour de force of heart-stopping potential. Piled onto this plate are a bacon and cheese quesadilla, fried cheese sticks, spinach and artichoke dip and chips, and boneless buffalo wings. Just one of those things is bad enough, but add all four and you have three days’ worth of sodium and more than an entire day of calories—in just one appetizer!

5. SALTIEST CHINESE: P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles with Pork
7,900 mg sodium
1,652 calories
84 g fat (12 g saturated)
pf
Sodium Equivalent: 263 Triscuit crackers (that’s 4.3 boxes!)

PF Changs’ menu is probably the saltiest in America; even a bowl of Hot and Sour Soup has 5,000 mg. For that half of the population that’s supposed to max out at 1,500 mg daily sodium, the Double Pan-Fried Noodles with Pork harbors more than five times the limit. Even for those in the higher tier, it still represents three-and-a-half days worth of sodium consumption. If you end up at Chang’s, let the Steamed Buddha Bowl be your safety plate. But remember: It’s got to be steamed. Order it stir-fried and the same dish suddenly leaps to 2,740 mg sodium. Yikes.

Information provided by Menshealth.com

Salt: An Important Ingredient In Your Diet

Salt | Foodfacts.com

Salt | Foodfacts.com

Foodfacts.com observes that salt is becoming a bit of a food baddie. That’s not a true representation of it from a health point of view – we need salt to keep our muscles and nerves working and it does a myriad of other good things in our body. However, too much can store up health problems for later. One of the problems is that most of us don’t actually know how much salt we take in everyday so it can be hard to cut down. Continue reading

Salt: The Essential Ingredient

Salt

Salt

Looking back through history, salt has probably been the single most influential foodstuff known. Did you know that salt funded the construction of China’s Great Wall? It helped to carve out trade routes, gave rise to Europe’s great cities, ignited wars, fueled centuries of political discourse, helped spark the French Revolution, and was a focal point the struggle for Indian independence. Continue reading