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5 Things About Salt

Since the FDA is considering regulating sodium in processed foods, I have been hearing more and more about the reasons why. Here are five things to ponder about the sodium content in your diet.

  • Seventy-five percent of the salt we consume comes from processed food and food from restaurants, not from the salt shaker.
  • Your tongue cannot adequately discern how much salt is in your food. If the salt is on the surface of the food, like a potato chip, it will taste salty. However, when the sodium of a serving of frozen mac-n-cheese is 500 mg chances are your tongue will not register that this portion of food contains 25 percent of your RDI (recommended daily intake) of sodium. You really need to read the nutritional label on processed foods to know.
  • Processed foods in the US generally contain more sodium than the same product in the UK. McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets is a great example – in the US they contain more than twice as much sodium as the United Kingdom version. Breakfast cereal is not exempt either – Kellogg’s Special K (advertised as "super healthy") has 58 percent more sodium per serving in the US version than the UK cereal.

There are two more reasons so

  • Not only does sodium content of specific products vary widely country to country, within the same type of product, like different types of canned tuna and corn chips, the sodium content can be drastically different. Once again I remind you to read the label.
  • Sodium is added to processed food to prevent it from spoiling. The salt draws moisture out of food so bacteria can't grow. It also helps to thicken soup and reduce dryness in crackers and pretzels.


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