It did not surprise me to read from an article in the New York Times that salt (or the lack thereof) makes a dramatic difference in some of the most familiar processed foods. Salt, which is a common form of sodium, is also included in processed foods that can be reconstituted with water (processed meats, soups, bouillon cubes). Unfortunately for savory-food fans, a diet high in … Even 'reduced sodium' foods can still contain more sodium than you expect. Use the Nutrition Facts label as your tool to make informed decisions! okay....I know the simple answers are: because it flavors it, and because it acts as a preservative. 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. Many meals we assume are “healthy” or “low-sodium” can actually be just the opposite. 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. Here’s why: high levels of sodium in your blood cause your bloodstream to hold more water. 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). Nutrition Education Resources & Materials, Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts, Nutrition Education Resources & Materials, At least 25% less sodium than the regular product, At least 50% less sodium than the regular product, No salt is added during processing – but these products may not be salt/sodium-free unless stated, Sandwiches (such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and submarine sandwiches), Cold cuts and cured meats (such as deli and packaged ham and turkey), Snack foods (such as chips, crackers, microwave popcorn, and pretzels). 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. 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. It can also be used as a preservative to keep food safe, enhance a food’s color or give it a firmer texture. It’s not just soup. 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. How to Reduce Sodium in Chinese Food. 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. The CDC researchers say the new figures show there has been little change in Americans’ sodium consumption over the last 10 years. It's no secret that fast-food fare like burgers, french fries, and fried chicken tends to be high in sodium. Medical experts around the world agree: Most people eat too much salt. One sweet and sour dish had 1,360 mg sodium… That’s a good thing: sodium is necessary for life. 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. Sodium and Blood Pressure. 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. The words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. n At the grocery store or farmers’ market, purchase Because it’s a lot cheaper than the flavorful vegetables, chicken, herbs, and spices that you would use at home. Do you know why most pre-packaged meals contain so much salt (sodium)? Adding flavor is probably its most well-known function. 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 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. 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. Sodium is listed as milligrams per serving, and that may not mean the whole package. Additionally sodium is used as a preservative, a thickener, a stabilizer, an ingredient binder and to enhance texture and color. Look for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label. 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. For example, sodium in the form of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is used to help bread and other baked goods rise. Americans eat on average about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Processed foods and similar products have sodium for two primary purposes: preservation and taste. 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. NOTE: FDA has issued final changes to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. 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. That’s a good thing: sodium is necessary for life. It’s because sodium-containing additives in addition to salt are added to enhance flavor. I love Chinese food; hubby likes it but not as much as I. I could live on the stuff. © 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. You can also check for nutrient claims on food and beverage packages to quickly identify those that may contain less sodium. Salt might also draw water out of any bacteria present, which kills them or, at least, slows them down quite a bit. Some occurs naturally in unprocessed edibles, such as milk, beets and celery. My guess is that it is there for taste purposes but, my … Really it's just that you see the sodium amount. Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. Here are five brilliant new uses for salt. A 4-ounce serving of what the industry calls "enhanced" poultry can contain as much as 440mg sodium. Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium can be bad for your health. Adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day, as this is equal to 6g of salt. With more than 41,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, it's safe to say Chinese food is a popular choice. 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. I can’t find anything online that says WHY so much sodium is used. Or that you should avoid extra salt at all costs? Scientists—and the salt industry—have debated this for decades but medical evidence suggests that it is. Thus, if the food is more processed, it is likely that the sodium content is higher. Salt also enhances the taste and texture of some foods and can act as a natural preservative. It is way too salty for my liking. That's why … Sodium plays many roles on your plate. Three-quarters of the sodium in your diet isn’t from a salt shaker: it can be found where you least expect it. (As I recall, a lot of the sodium is in there as "food preservative" rather than "flavor enchancer", which is where fresh is best.) Skip sauces and gravies. Story highlights. Each serving in this product contains less than 5 mg of sodium. Choose dishes with lower salt content or condiments on the side. Three-quarters of the sodium in our diets isn’t from a salt shaker. As sodium is the major salt in sweat, some drinks contain added sodium along with carbohydrates. So Can I Eat Low Sodium at Chipotle? 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. Second, salt is easy, cheap flavor. 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. First, it depends on the company. The following tips can help lower your sodium while eating out. 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. Water, diluted fruit juices and sports drinks are commonly used for rehydration. The total? 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. Study finds meat substitutes need to trim sodium. My boyfriend adds salt to the bowl of veggies that we have as a side dish. Salt (also known by its chemical name, sodium chloride) is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature. 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! Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. 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. 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. Do the Chinese use that much sodium, or do they think that Americans want it? Brooke Randolph. Each serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less. It's the great salt debate. For more information, see Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. Low sodium. I don'y eat those Ramen noodles unless I only use only half of the seasoning packet. Essential means that you need it to live. Food manufacturers rely on sodium as a flavor modifier, ingredient binder, color enhancer, stabilizer and preservative in processed foods. Your choices will vary with the type of dining situation. However, most Americans eat too much of it—and they may not even know it. The food supply contains too much sodium and Americans who want to consume less sodium can have a difficult time doing so. June 24, 2010 -- Five high-sodium foods -- not all of them salty tasting -- are a big reason why nine in 10 Americans get way too much sodium every day. You’ve probably heard that most Americans eat too much 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. 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