Sunday, April 11, 2010

Death one shake at a time.

Are you like me and reach for the salt shaker before even tasting your food or assume that unless you add salt to the food while it’s cooking, you’re not doing a good job? Or look at a bucket of salt meat and think how good it’s going to taste? If so, you’re with the majority of the Canadian population. The amount of sodium consumed by Canadians is currently estimated at 3400 mg per day, on average. Now consider that a kidney specialist told me the other day that we should be consuming no more than 1200mg per day! Many of us are doing three times that OR MORE. A diet high in sodium is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Using that 1200mg/day as an indication, I grabbed three cans out of the cupboards this morning. Here’s what I found: Chef Boyardee Lasagna (Pasta with beef in tomato sauce) 425g – for the can 1460mg sodium; Compliments Cut Green Beans 398ml - for the can about 540mg sodium; Graves Beans with Pork in molasses 540ml – for the can about 1880mg sodium. There was no particular reason to pick those cans – they were simply at the front of the shelf. The results are simply mind boggling. The kidney specialist asked me if I was watching my salt intake … I am now. (Here’s a possible resource for you).


Charlie said...

It is amazing how high those levels are. There is probably not a whole lot of public awareness of the sodium levels in canned food, as there are still loads of products on the shelves with high levels. That's why they still do it, the market/public does not oppose it.

Here is one more important thing for anyone to keep in mind when reading nutrition labels - look at the Serving Size that is used to for things like sodium, sugar, fats, etc. Do not assume that the levels you are reading is for the entire product. For example, a package of Lipton soup (soup mix) uses 1/3 of a package as their serving size. So multiply the sodium reading by 3 for the whole thing. Companies do this since it takes the sting of the fact away to a degree.

ViewPoint2010 said...

Amen to that Sir Charles. What caught my attention was the green beans, which I thought would be relatively low. About half the daily limit at 540mg. I have to admit, it has been a serious awakening for me and I've added the Weighty Matters website you mentioned to the lower links section on the right hand side. We need to be more aware of what we're putting in our mouths and what effect that has throughout the body. You still can't beat a Jigs dinner with peas pudding for taste, but the challenge now is to reduce the salt. I sense resistance building in my taste buds! :-)

Charlie said...

Got to agree with the jigs dinner, hard to beat the taste on that!