Trans fat used to be the hidden enemy in processed foods, the health-stealing culprit that consumers had to watched out for with label reading diligence. Hidden salt is the new enemy that has replaced trans fat on the consumer watch list. Obscene amounts of salt hiding in processed foods that is causing most people to consume well over the daily recommended amount of daily sodium without even knowing it.
Where’s the Salt?
Salt likes to hide out in condiments – innocent looking ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauces, pasta sauces, soy sauce and salad dressings are loaded with salt.
Have a couple of pancakes with syrup for breakfast this morning? If so, you’ve already consumed about one-half of the recommended daily amount of sodium. Two average sized pancakes and ¼ cup of pancake syrup contain about 1,100 mgs of salt. The recommended daily sodium limit is 2,300 mg. Add a cup of tuna salad (800+ mg salt) and a cup of low-fat cottage cheese (900+mg salt) for lunch and the daily sodium limit has been exceeded before afternoon snack time.
Salt and Heart Disease
High blood pressure and the heart diseases it can lead to used to be something not seen in people until they reach the ages of 60-70. As high salt intake continues, those ages are dropping. People in their 40’s and 50’s are diagnosed regularly with high blood pressure and have to start taking medication to reduce their risks of heart disease. Even with high blood pressure medication and a reduced sodium diet, the years of consuming too much salt often has already taken it’s toll on the body. Middle-aged people are having heart attacks, strokes and various other types of heart diseases at an alarming rate, and the age will continue to drop if salt consumption continues to rise.
Read Food Labels to Decipher Salt Content
Read the food labels and view salt content like calories, 2,300mg of total salt per day, whether cooking at home or eating out.
Foods labeled as sodium-free contain less than 5mg of salt per serving. Very low sodium content means 35mg or less of salt per serving. Low sodium foods contain 140mg or less of salt per serving. Light in sodium or lightly salted means the food has at least one-half less salt than it’s regular counter-part. Reduced or less sodium labeled food products contain at least 25% less salt than the full salt counter-part.
Swapping foods that have a high sodium content for lower sodium foods may take the taste buds a few weeks to adjust too, but it does save lives by reducing the risk of heart disease. Salt is the new trans fat type enemy of health, reducing both increase longevity.