Hold the Bread & Chicken? Too Much Sodium, Really!?

Whenever I think of reducing sodium in my clients diet, I think lets cut those chips, canned soups, pretzels and processed foods. Could it be that we were focusing on the wrong foods when it comes to reducing sodium in the diet?

This week the Center for Disease Control (CDC) came out with a list of 10 foods that are responsible for 44% of Americans sodium intake.  The shocker on the list for me was the breads, rolls and poultry. This proves that many of us consume a great deal of sodium without even thinking our meals taste “salty”.

Only 1 in 10 American stay within the recommend guidelines for sodium. After looking a typical “healthy” lunch of a turkey a sandwich on wheat bread, side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and 1 bowl vegetable soup, I can understand why. That one lunch meal can have as much as 2,185 mg sodium.  That is the recommend sodium intake for the day, and we just consumed that in one meal. Even if we skipped the soup we would still be consuming 1485 mg sodium in one meal.  The CDC found that the average american consumes about 3,300 mg of sodium per pay, that is 1000 mg over the recommend guidelines. Good Morning America also had some great clips and examples this morning about this.

Sodium intake is problem because it can increase your risk for high blood pressure. In return high blood pressure often leads to stroke and heart disease.  In 2010 these diseases costed the nation $273 billion health care dollars. The CDC estimates that “if Americans lowered their daily sodium intake by 400mg, equivalent to a fraction of a teaspoon, approximately 28,000 lives could be saved and $7 billion saved annually in health care costs.”

Where our food comes from tends to be the biggest predictor of sodium in our diet. The CDC found  “65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores, and 25% comes from restaurants”.  In my wellness group, sodium from dinning out is always a shocker. We do an exercise where I provided clients with “chain” restaurants menus. Each cleint orders their “typical meal” and their “healthy” meal, then we compare. Not only are the calories and fat grams shocking to my clients but the sodium content tends to knock them off their seats. Even with my clients “healthy” meal order, it was very difficult to get below 1000 mg sodium.


What can you do:

The Nutrition Twins had a great segment 3 months ago on Good Morning America, that I booked marked and I am happy to share with you today. They have great approach for re-training your taste buds to salt!

Simple Steps to reduce your sodium intake:

(1) It’s all about the nutrition label! Turn that package over. Here are guidelines for reading the nutrition label.

(2) Check the amount of sodium per serving, and don’t forget to check the number of servings per container or the amount you are going to eat!

(3) Compare Nutrition Facts labels on food packages for percent Daily Value or amount of sodium in milligrams. Rule of thumb is to keep sodium to 100-300 mg or less per serving. 

(4) It is not a meal unless a fruit or vegetables is present.  Fruit and vegetables are high in fiber, potassium and water, all which can help keep the sodium balance in your body.

(5) Limit the packaged foods you eat and bring into your home.

(6) Limit dining out and take out to 1-2 times per week. It will save you calories and sodium.

(7) Make tea and water your go to fluid choice.

(8) When available, buy low-sodium, lower sodium,reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of products.

(9) Use fresh and organic poultry, fish, pork, and lean meats rather than canned, processed or deli meats.

(10) Cook at home! Make more meals and snacks at home from scratch.

My challenge for you this week is to cut 400 mg of sodium or more from your day. It could save your life!


This entry was posted in Food Label, Snacking and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hold the Bread & Chicken? Too Much Sodium, Really!?

  1. Corrine says:

    Great post! This is so surprising to me!! Clearly I’ve been focusing on eliminating the wrong foods….rats! I like your challenges at the end of the posts too.

  2. Thank Corrine, It was shocking to me as well, more the chicken and bread on the list. I find I need challenges each week to help me concentrate on new behavior changes and to keep myself motivated. Enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s