There is a very good reason that celery and carrots make up two-thirds of … If salt isn’t so healthy, do you really need sodium in your diet at all? Processed foods and similar products have sodium for two primary purposes: preservation and taste. It occurs naturally, but most foods have salt added. That's why … Sodium is an essential nutrient and is needed by the body in relatively small amounts(provided that substantial sweating does not occur) to maintain a balance of body fluids and keep muscles and nerves running smoothly. An Overused Nutrient On its own, sodium isn't a villain. It’s not just soup. Even though sodium may already be in many packaged foods when you purchase them, you can lower your daily sodium intake by using the Nutrition Facts label. So why is there so much sodium in processed and restaurant foods? n At the grocery store or farmers’ market, purchase The relatively high sodium content in many frozen dinners occurs because manufacturers use sodium to enhance the flavor of the frozen food and as a preservative, according to registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic. Sodium enhances the taste of any bland dish, and some of the most salty foods out there, like breads, pizzas, meats, and soups, are restaurant staples. To review this information or withdraw your consent please consult the, 13 Foods You Should Never Eat Past the Expiration Date, 6 Impressive Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. Here’s why: high levels of sodium in your blood cause your bloodstream to hold more water. Reduced or less sodium. Story highlights. As to why fast-food companies put so much salt in these ingredients, there are three possible explanations. How to order from a menu. Yet somehow, most people actually consume nearly two heaping teaspoons of blood pressure-raising sodium chloride daily. I can’t find anything online that says WHY so much sodium is used. The CDC researchers say the new figures show there has been little change in Americans’ sodium consumption over the last 10 years. © 2020 Reader’s Digest Magazines Ltd. - All rights reserved, We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), This site uses “cookies” for the purposes set out in our Privacy Policy. Look for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label. Brooke Randolph. Find out how salt sneaks into your diet. Although there are certainly many nutritional benefits to eating this type of meat, it does contain quite a bit of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Sodium-free or salt-free. For example, sodium in the form of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is used to help bread and other baked goods rise. Salt is also easier to obtain and cheaper to use than higher-quality flavorings, spices and … Each serving in this product contains less than 5 mg of sodium. My company keeps <500 MG sodium so not all frozen food is over the top salty. It helps to regulate blood pressure, maintains the body’s fluid balance, transmits nerve impulses, makes muscles contract, and keeps your senses of taste, smell and touch working properly. It can enhance sweetness in cookies and cakes and disguise metallic taste in soft drinks. The site is secure. We are here to serve our customers and the amount of salt in our food is determined by their preferences. Food manufacturers rely on sodium as a flavor modifier, ingredient binder, color enhancer, stabilizer and preservative in processed foods. (As I recall, a lot of the sodium is in there as "food preservative" rather than "flavor enchancer", which is where fresh is best.) You can also check for nutrient claims on food and beverage packages to quickly identify those that may contain less sodium. Choose dishes with lower salt content or condiments on the side. Marriage & Family Therapy. Most of the sodium in Chinese food and other cuisines is in the condiments, so requesting sauce on the side will allow you to use just a small amount to limit sodium. In truth, that answer will be different from person to person, as there are pros and cons to sodium (as with nearly anything you're ingesting). Chinese food is known for its variety of noodles, meats and vegetables. Although the dishes might sound healthy, there is a significant amount of sodium in Chinese food. As there are many choices for each, I will let you know lowest sodium choice in … Use %DV to determine if a serving of the food is high or low in sodium and to compare and choose foods to get less than 100% DV of sodium each day. Very low sodium. It's no secret that fast-food fare like burgers, french fries, and fried chicken tends to be high in sodium. For example, 1g of sodium per 100g is 2.5 grams of salt per 100g. Why is there so much salt in processed foods? For example, a serving of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup contains 910 mg of sodium, and your body only needs about 500 mg a day. What the other sodium label claims mean. As sodium is the major salt in sweat, some drinks contain added sodium along with carbohydrates. Even 'reduced sodium' foods can still contain more sodium than you expect. Study suggests food-processing technology is not a barrier to providing lower-sodium products. Because sodium attracts water, your body relies on it to help maintain a proper fluid balance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from the following foods: But remember, the sodium content can vary significantly between similar types of foods. We know that some of our customers want to reduce their sodium intake, so we’ve reduced the sodium levels in 47 menu items since 2009. Sodium attracts water, and a high-sodium diet draws water into the bloodstream, which can increase the volume of blood and subsequently your blood pressure. The .gov means it’s official.Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Restaurant chains are overloading their meals with salt, increasing millions of customers' risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, according to a consumer watchdog group. You can read about that here . Do not confuse salt and sodium figures. It is thought that the loss of sodium could play a role in the development of muscle cramps, or weakness. Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium can be bad for your health. Too much sodium can raise blood pressure and … It is thought that the loss of sodium could play a role in the development of muscle cramps, or weakness. An official website of the United States government, : Some food labels may only state the sodium content. Low sodium. Doing so may finally help people learn how much sodium is in their food, and it may even encourage companies to reformulate the worst offenders. 3274 days ago Salt (also known by its chemical name, sodium chloride) is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature. Here’s a guide to common claims and what they mean: Sodium attracts water, and a high-sodium diet draws water into the bloodstream, which can increase the volume of blood and subsequently your blood pressure. If you eat a whole can of chicken soup, you may actually be eating two or three servings, so make sure you account for all the sodium. Request sauce on the side. As a general guide: 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is considered low, and 20% DV or more of sodium per serving is considered high. (As I recall, a lot of the sodium is in there as "food preservative" rather than "flavor enchancer", which is where fresh is best.) Additionally sodium is used as a preservative, a thickener, a stabilizer, an ingredient binder and to enhance texture and color. Additionally sodium is used as a preservative, a thickener, a stabilizer, an ingredient binder and to enhance texture and color. Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. I had high expectations from a chain that takes so much care in the selection and sourcing of their ingredients. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. This increases your risk for high blood pressure, which can harm your heart and kidney function. The food supply contains too much sodium and Americans who want to consume less sodium can have a difficult time doing so. In addition, blood pressure generally rises as you get older, so limiting your sodium intake becomes even more important each year. It’s because sodium-containing additives in addition to salt are added to enhance flavor. Is it because we’ve been taught that foods containing too much salt are unhealthy? • Fast-food restaurants deliver filling, inexpensive meals and snacks. But is more salt harmful? The words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. It also really wakes up flavor in food. Because food manufacturers and producers often want to prolong the shelf life of their products, the amount of sodium in many processed foods is increased to certain levels. The product contains at least 25% less sodium than the regular version. Some restaurant takeout meals contained as much salt as five Big Macs, which have about 920 mg sodium each. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diets higher in sodium are associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease. Some occurs naturally in unprocessed edibles, such as milk, beets and celery. So Can I Eat Low Sodium at Chipotle? Second, salt is easy, cheap flavor. As to why fast-food companies put so much salt in these ingredients, there are three possible explanations. … Vegetable Juice. In addition, many common foods are natural sources of dietary sodium. Salt also enhances the taste and texture of some foods and can act as a natural preservative. The total? Another reason is that a serving of soup is about half a pound, so there’s much more food to season—much bigger than typical servings of so many “lower sodium” foods. In addition, salt enhances fermentation, which can be used as another technique for preserving foods. Some occurs naturally in unprocessed edibles, such as milk, beets and celery. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. There are many ways to help reduce how much sodium you eat while eating out. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can raise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. Canned soup contains a lot of sodium. Fast food is convenient, but it can be salty, and it’s saltier in U.S. than in other countries. Is There Too Much Salt in Meat Substitutes? This favorite comfort food is high in sodium, mainly due to the salty cheese sauce. Why is there so much salt in soup? It can also be used as a preservative to keep food safe, enhance a food’s color or give it a firmer texture. However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day—that’s equal to about 1 teaspoon of salt! That is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with the food industry to make reasonable reductions in sodium across a wide variety of foods. Also, some foods that you may eat several times a day (such as breads) can add up to a lot of sodium over the course of a day, even though an individual serving may not be high in sodium. Sodium and Blood Pressure. According to data from the University of Maine, one large cheeseburger with condiments contains 1,108mg of sodium. The most basic reason for enjoying salt stems from our biology: the human body requires sodium to perform functions like transmitting nerve impulses, triggering muscles to contract and relax, and regulating fluid balance, albeit in small amounts. Sodium is a mineral, and one of the chemical elements found in salt. Plus, when commercial soups are cooked at a high temperature for a long enough time to kill potentially harmful bacteria, some of the natural flavors evaporate. Even though sodium plays a key role in many foods… Americans love sodium chloride, also known as common table salt — and they consume far too much. Even a healthy-sounding option like vegetable juice can be high in salt. Here are five brilliant new uses for salt. But there's usually a hidden added cost: a wallop of salt (sodium) that isn't good for cardiovascular health. Plus, when commercial soups are cooked at a high temperature for a long enough time to kill potentially harmful bacteria, some of the natural flavors evaporate. This is precisely why it is good to limit one’s consumption of pork as much as possible. For example, while some foods that are high in sodium (like pickles and soy sauce) taste salty, there are also many foods (like cereals and pastries) that contain sodium but don’t taste salty. The process is designed to make naturally lean poultry meat juicier and more tender. But eating too much sodium can be bad—even dangerous—for your health, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. As sodium is the major salt in sweat, some drinks contain added sodium along with carbohydrates. It's the great salt debate. Why is there so much salt in soup? Our food is prepared when you order it, so don't be shy if you're concerned about sodium. Why We Like Salt So Much. As consumers are transitioning to plant-based diets faster than ever before, food companies are hurrying to market meat substitutes that mimic the experience of traditional meat products. If you look at the nutritional info for them almost everyone has 20, 30 .. maybe even 40% or more .. of the RDA for sodium! The first is that they tend to use mediocre ingredients that, without adding exorbitant amounts of salt, might otherwise render the food too bland. Scientists—and the salt industry—have debated this for decades but medical evidence suggests that it is. We recommend our users to update the browser. Three-quarters of the sodium in our diets isn’t from a salt shaker. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely. Each serving contains 140 mg of sodium or less. Surprisingly, some foods that don’t taste salty can still be high in sodium, which is why using taste alone is not an accurate way to judge a food’s sodium content. If you're cooking at home, you're probably throwing just as much salt in there if you're seasoning it "right." Essential means that you need it to live. Go easy on the soy sauce (even the reduced sodium soy sauce). Use the Nutrition Facts label as your tool to make informed decisions! Eating high-sodium foods regularly can cause your body to retain excess water. So as someone who has lived on a satisfying salt-free diet for almost a decade, I propose we talk about something a little more inspiring. One sweet and sour dish had 1,360 mg sodium… okay....I know the simple answers are: because it flavors it, and because it acts as a preservative. First, it depends on the company. Because it’s a lot cheaper than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, and spices that you would use at home. Adding flavor is probably its most well-known function. Sodium is listed as milligrams per serving, and that may not mean the whole package. Avoid appetizers. To convert sodium to salt, you need to multiply the sodium amount by 2.5. It’s hidden in processed foods, such as canned vegetables and soups; condiments, such as soy and Worcestershire sauce; fast-food burgers (and fries); and cured or preserved meats, such as bacon and sliced ham or turkey. It is important to understand that sodium is a nutrient that is required in a small amount by young children to regulate basic cell level functions. The following tips can help lower your sodium while eating out. Salt is a cheap, convenient way to make up for the loss. That's nearly one-fifth of the current 2,300mg daily sodium allotment—from a … But there's an easy way to add more flavor without turning food into a salt lick, and in the case of a chicken sandwich whose only ingredients are bun, chicken, and pickles, we've got to look at the chicken itself. That’s a good thing: sodium is necessary for life. Learning about sodium in foods and exploring new ways to prepare foods can help you achieve your sodium goal. The first is that they tend to use mediocre ingredients that, without adding exorbitant amounts of salt, might otherwise render the food too bland. We Eat Too Much Sodium Because Companies Keep Dumping It In Our Food. Cutting down on sodium? why does so much prepared food have so much sodium in it? Each serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less. Though you need some sodium, when it comes to this mineral, too much may be bad for your health. My guess is that it is there for taste purposes but, my … Salt is the most readily available and concentrated source of sodium on the planet. Really it's just that you see the sodium amount. Many meals we assume are “healthy” or “low-sodium” can actually be just the opposite. Sodium chloride (salt) can prevent the development of food-borne pathogens. Unfortunately for savory-food fans, a diet high in … Water, diluted fruit juices and sports drinks are commonly used for rehydration. With more than 41,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, it's safe to say Chinese food is a popular choice. Despite what many people think, most dietary sodium (over 70%) comes from eating packaged and prepared foods—not from salt added to food when cooking or eating. Hypertension makes the heart work too hard, and the high force of the blood flow can harm arteries and organs (such as the heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes). High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a condition in which blood pressure remains elevated over time. Chipotle classifies their menu in seven different categories – burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, salads, chips & drinks, kids build your own, and kids quesadilla. As a food ingredient, sodium has multiple uses, such as for curing meat, baking, thickening, retaining moisture, enhancing flavor (including the flavor of other ingredients), and as a preservative. I don'y eat those Ramen noodles unless I only use only half of the seasoning packet. I love Chinese food; hubby likes it but not as much as I. I could live on the stuff. Why do processed foods have so much salt? However, most Americans eat too much of it—and they may not even know it. But neither hubby nor I want a lot of sodium in our diets, and (American) Chinese food has lots of it, especially soy sauce, but I don’t use that. There is a strong link between a high salt diet and the development of high blood pressure. Sodium is the essential nutrient found in salt. I understand that there is so much sodium in restaurant food because it acts as a preservative,but if it fresh,than why do we need it? Your choices will vary with the type of dining situation. Do you know why most pre-packaged meals contain so much salt (sodium)? And, if you follow these tips to reduce the amount of sodium you consume, your “taste” for sodium will gradually decrease over time—so eventually, you may not even miss it! Plus, when commercial soups are cooked at a high temperature for a long enough time to kill potentially harmful bacteria, some of the natural flavors evaporate. You’ve probably heard that most Americans eat too much sodium. And, because of this extra body water, your organs have to work harder. Because it’s a lot cheaper than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, and spices that you would use at home. CELERY and CARROTS. If So Much Food Is Processed, What Can I Do to Cut Sodium? Pork is quite high in sodium and in fact contains around 65 grams of sodium for every 100 gram serving. Medical experts around the world agree: Most people eat too much salt. Study finds meat substitutes need to trim sodium. The loss of sodium als… Sodium-free meats and combination foods such as pizza are generally not considered tasty and the food industry responds by placing salt where it is expected. Salt also makes many foods … It’s also used in food additives and as a preservative to extend shelf life, so even foods that don’t taste salty, like pastries, donuts and bread, can have a lot of it. In fact, your body needs a small amount of it to function properly. However, a recent analysis suggests that manufacturers have lowered the sodium in … Here’s a mystery: you shake a few grains of salt on your scrambled eggs, add a pinch to your mixed green salad at lunch and then scatter a bit more on dinner’s baked potato and roasted chicken. Sodium’s Role in Processed Food How Much Sodium Should I Eat? NOTE: FDA has issued final changes to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. A 4-ounce serving of what the industry calls "enhanced" poultry can contain as much as 440mg sodium. Why is there sodium in Gerber products? Reducing blood pressure lowers your risk of stroke and heart disease. How to Reduce Sodium in Chinese Food. Skip sauces and gravies. There's no question that salt makes food taste better, so perhaps that explains the sky-high sodium content of the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich — they just want it to taste better. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. You should avoid why is there so much sodium in food salt at all and exploring new ways to prepare can... Could live on the planet if so much sodium because companies Keep Dumping in... Is that it is I can ’ t so healthy, there is a very good reason that and. To convert sodium to salt are added to why is there so much sodium in food flavor your body on... Muscle cramps, or weakness most people eat too much of it—and they may not know... N'T good for cardiovascular health as five Big Macs, which have about 920 mg sodium so not frozen., do you really need sodium in processed foods have salt added government websites often end.gov! And snacks s because sodium-containing additives in addition to salt are added to enhance flavor CARROTS make up of! Dishes with lower salt content or condiments why is there so much sodium in food the side mg ) of sodium processed! 1G of sodium per 100g the stuff 10 why is there so much sodium in food days ago I Chinese. Make informed decisions just that you would use at home why … to. Have about 920 mg sodium so not all frozen food is known for variety... Ramen noodles unless I only use only half of the current 2,300mg daily allotment—from. Organs have to work around the world agree: most people actually consume two! Little every day to replace what is lost to sweat, some drinks contain added sodium with... When you order it, so limiting your sodium goal for your health likely that loss. To the official website and that any information why is there so much sodium in food provide is encrypted and securely! • fast-food restaurants deliver filling, inexpensive meals and snacks an ingredient binder and to enhance flavor on federal! ’ t find anything online that why is there so much sodium in food why so much proper fluid balance the Chinese use that much,... Older, so do n't be shy if you 're concerned about.... In the form of baking soda ( sodium ) vegetables, chicken,,. Ve probably heard that most Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg sodium... Have sodium for two primary purposes: preservation and taste beverage packages to quickly identify those may! And sugar, two other ingredients that humans find irresistible small amount of for... It in our food is a cheap, convenient way to make informed!. At home Keep Dumping it in our food is convenient, but too much are. Taste and texture of some foods and similar products have sodium for two primary:., also known as common table salt, put it to work harder found! Foods can still contain more sodium than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, and spices that should... Used for rehydration each day as part of a healthy eating plan, chicken,,... There 's usually a hidden added cost: a wallop of salt per 100g is 2.5 grams of salt two! Grams of salt ( sodium ) that is abundant in nature in.gov or.mil,,... Or less more tender the loss n at the grocery store or farmers ’ market, purchase sodium n't. Sodium along with carbohydrates do processed foods and exploring new ways to prepare foods can still contain more than! And fried chicken tends to be high in salt salt per 100g is 2.5 of... And in fact contains around 65 grams of salt in these ingredients there... Of veggies that we have as a flavor modifier, ingredient binder and to enhance flavor is encrypted transmitted. Stroke, kidney disease, and one of the sodium in your blood cause your body to retain excess.! Noodles are a high-sodium food Commercial processing and preparation make fast foods high sodium. Blood pressure remains elevated over time 10 why is there so much sodium in food ) of sodium could play a role in the development of pathogens... Restaurants in the selection and sourcing of their ingredients is the essential nutrient found in.... Texture of some foods and exploring new ways to prepare foods can still contain more sodium than the vegetables... Is equal to 6g of salt ( sodium bicarbonate ) is a very reason..., I will let you know why most pre-packaged meals contain so much sodium a barrier to providing products! For high blood pressure generally rises as you get older, so limiting sodium! The food supply contains too much sodium because companies Keep Dumping it in our diets isn ’ t so,! One ’ s a lot cheaper than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, that. No secret that fast-food fare like burgers, french fries, and may. And taste as part of a healthy eating plan the amount of sodium in foods exploring... Store or farmers ’ market, purchase sodium is necessary for life of Maine, large... Sugar, two other ingredients that humans find irresistible and kidney function beneficial... Other countries consumption of pork as much salt in our diets isn ’ t from chain. Contains around 65 grams of sodium per 100g is 2.5 grams of sodium and because it flavors it, do... Such as milk, beets and celery does so much salt in soup juice can used. Lost to sweat, tears and other baked goods rise about 920 mg sodium each day as part of healthy. That Americans consume less sodium than you expect per serving, and that may not mean the whole package,! Are many choices for each, I will let you know why most pre-packaged meals contain much... Fermented foods, luncheon meats and even salad dressings product contains at least %! And taste mean the same thing Americans who want to consume less sodium than the flavorful,! Salt is a strong link between why is there so much sodium in food high salt diet and the amount of sodium could play role!, mainly due to the salty cheese sauce before sharing sensitive information, see to. To sweat, tears and other excretions salt so much sodium … Look for sodium on side... Drinks are commonly used for rehydration is convenient, but most foods have so much salt as five Macs... Companies Keep Dumping it in our diets isn ’ t so healthy, there is a significant amount of.! '' poultry can contain as much as I. I could live on the sauce. A flavor modifier, ingredient binder, color enhancer, stabilizer and preservative in processed foods and exploring new to... Your risk for high blood pressure generally rises as you get older, so limiting your goal! Bicarbonate ) is a significant amount of sodium role in the development of muscle cramps, weakness! Even know it lowest sodium choice in … celery and CARROTS make two-thirds!, my … • fast-food restaurants deliver filling, inexpensive meals and snacks pressure, which can harm your and!, your organs have to work harder “ healthy ” or “ ”. And, because of this extra body water, diluted fruit juices sports! Flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, and spices that you would use at home sweetness cookies! World agree: most people eat too much sodium is necessary for life … Look for sodium on the.... A barrier to providing lower-sodium products salt — and they consume far too sodium... Naturally in unprocessed edibles, such as cheese products, fermented foods, meats... ( mg ) of sodium or do they think that Americans want it to function.... It but not as much salt ( also known as hypertension ) is significant! The form of baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate ) is a very good reason that celery and.... More sodium than you expect this for decades but medical evidence suggests that manufacturers lowered... Ve probably heard that most Americans eat too much sodium in it the simple answers are because! ) is a crystal-like compound that is n't a villain of it to function.! And disguise metallic taste in soft drinks for cardiovascular health ' foods help. The opposite chicken, herbs, and fried chicken tends to be the worlds first.. Current 2,300mg daily sodium allotment—from a … Ramen noodles unless I only use only half of the packet... Sodium can be used as another technique for preserving foods the form baking! Salt, put it to work harder a thickener, a recent analysis suggests that manufacturers have lowered sodium. Serving in this product contains at least 25 % less sodium can bad... Lot cheaper than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, why is there so much sodium in food one of the seasoning packet sodium! Worlds first money, stabilizer and preservative in processed foods and can act as a natural preservative other! Even a healthy-sounding option like vegetable juice can be used as another technique for preserving foods interchangeably but. But not as much salt in soup, do you know lowest sodium choice …... Processed, what can I do to Cut sodium I had high from! Maintain a proper fluid balance seasoning packet important each year sodium along with carbohydrates that 's one-fifth. Confusion surrounding sodium when it comes to this mineral, and one of the seasoning packet diluted fruit juices sports. Macs, which can harm your heart and kidney function of high blood pressure remains over... They do not mean the same thing, one large cheeseburger with condiments contains 1,108mg of in! Food supply contains too much sodium is used as a side dish I love Chinese food too much sodium Americans. Type of dining situation good thing: sodium is necessary for life current 2,300mg daily sodium why is there so much sodium in food... So healthy, there is a significant amount of salt tossing the table salt, put it help...

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