There has been a common sense movement for the past few years in this country to get back to eating “real food.” Real food means food hat hasn’t been adulterated with chemicals, or processed with preservatives. In other words, it’s fresh.
The author Michael Pollan says: “If your great, great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, then don’t eat it.” And your great, great grandmother probably wouldn’t recognize polysorbate 80 and guar gum, both common ingredients in many processed foods today.
The other health hazard that is lurking in processed food is salt, or sodium. The average person in the United States consumes about 23 times the recommended daily allowance of salt. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure and lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
You should check the nutrition label on all of the processed foods that you eat for the amount of salt that they contain. Also ask to see the nutrition brochure when you eat out in restaurants. Salt is a popular condiment and a lot of chefs like to dose their creations liberally with salt.
Here are some foods that may just surprise you that are loaded with salt.:
Kellogg’s Raisin Bran. Although this cereal only has about 15% of the salt that you need per day, there are a lot of similar cereals that have a lot less salt in them.
Classico Roasted Onion and Garlic Pasta Sauce. Contains 510 mg of sodium and one serving will give you 20% of your daily allotment of sodium.
Slim Jim Beef Jerky. This one probably won’t surprise you all that much. The pioneers used a lot of salt to preserve meats and these little meat sticks are loaded with salt. 500 mg. per stick. Eat two of them and you’ve just about satisfied your whole day’s allotment of sodium.
Kellogg’s Eggo Buttermilk Pancakes. Slather on some Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and you have about 600 mg. of sodium.
Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers. I once worked at a restaurant that served black beans. I was amazed at how much sodium they had in them, and I’m pretty sure that most of it was added. These “healthy” vegetable burgers will set you back 700 mg. of sodium.
Heinz Ketchup. Who would have thought that ketchup was loaded with salt? One teaspoon of this tasty condiment has 190 mg. Of sodium.
Kraft Singles. One slice of Kraft cheese has 277 mg. of sodium. Since salt is a primary ingredient in the making of cheese, all cheese is salty by definition.
Another surprising salty food is Pepperidge Farms Pumpernickel Bread at 190 mg. per slice.
A couple of other foods that are high in sodium but people think are healthy are V8 tomato juice and most of the Campbell’s canned soups.
So start reading the nutrition label if you don’t do so already and you’ll find yourself, like me, putting a lot of the stuff back on the shelves because there’s just too much salt in them.