There’s been a lot of talk about the amount of sodium in the foods we eat. After the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans updated sodium recommendations, the chatter around the mineral has continued to get louder. Recently, Boston Market, a major food chain with over 400 locations, announced it will be removing all salt shakers from the tables of its restaurants. The salt shakers won’t be removed from the restaurant completely; instead, you will find them at the condiment station alongside ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce. The chain has also vowed to cut sodium levels in three of its signature dishes – rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. Additionally, the announcement included a commitment to reducing sodium by 15 percent in all of their offerings by the end of 2014.
Added sodium, like added sugar, tends to hide in foods making it difficult to judge just how much is actually in the food you’re eating. You could easily scarf down a sandwich with over 1,000mg of sodium and not realize it, but if you add salt to your food at the table, you are much less likely to add that much. Removing salt from the table is similar to removing sugar. It’s only a small part of the problem.
Often, people are surprised to learn where most Americans get their sodium. According to the CDC, the number one source of sodium in the American diet is yeast bread, followed by cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, and soups. The CDC has an excellent resource on sodium in the American diet.
What can you do?
Track your sodium intake for one day. This means reading food labels, looking up nutrition facts before eating out, and avoiding adding salt to your food at the table. Make an effort to taste the food first, especially if eating in a restaurant since the food is likely already high in sodium.By focusing on the amount of sodium you eat in one day, you will begin to see which foods are pushing your sodium intake over the edge.
Most people should aim for less than 2,300mg of sodium per day. If you’re over 51 years old, have high blood pressure, are African American, have diabetes, or have kidney disease, you should consume less than 1,500mg of sodium per day.
Eat Well.Feel Well,