Entries in Salt (17)


Schools Take Aim at Popular Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- School districts in California and New Mexico are trying to ban the popular snack food Flamin’ Hot Cheetos because they say it is a health hazard to students.

School officials say the concern is their nutritional value, or lack thereof.  Each bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos contains 26 grams of fat and a quarter of the amount of salt that’s recommended for the entire day.

One school district in Illinois, which used to sell about 150,000 bags each year, has already taken the snack off its menu.

“If children were to bring in snacks that are high in fat, high in calories, that’s their choice,” Rockford School District Interim Superintendent Robert Willis said.  “We’re not going to be providing those kinds of foods.”

On top of the artificial coloring and flavoring, some experts say the Cheetos are “hyperpalatable,” meaning they’re highly addictive.

“Our brain is really hardwired to find things like fat and salt really rewarding and now we have foods that have them in such high levels that it can trigger an addictive process,” said Ashley Gearhardt, a clinical psychologist at the University of Michigan.

Frito Lay, which makes and sells Cheetos, says it is “committed to responsible and ethical practices, which includes not marketing our products to children ages 12 and under.”

While Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are under fire in schools, kids can’t get enough of them.  So much so that there is a YouTube video featuring kids rapping about their love of the snack.

“Got my fingers stained red and I can’t get them off me.  You can catch me and my crew eating hot Cheetos and takis,” one boy raps in the video.

Takis are a chili pepper- and lime-flavored corn snack.

The video has already been viewed more than 3.3 million times and there are even Facebook fan pages dedicated to the snack.

One fan page has more than 49,000 “likes,” with many fans posting photos and videos with the snack.

“Don’t feel like leaving to get food,” one person writes.  “So I’m eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Food Swap for Less Salt: How to Make Healthier Kids’ Lunches, Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you’re a label reader, here is a nutrition fact you don’t want to miss. It’s not just calories, fat and sugar you should be checking. Another culprit assaulting our diets is sodium -- and it can be found in just about everything.

A new study shows that children and teens in the United States on average are taking in as much sodium as adults. Since kids’ bodies are smaller, consuming that much sodium each day could mean major health problems when they grow up.

Registered dietician Cynthia Sass worked with Nightline to compare the sodium content in kids’ lunches and snacks. Here’s a breakdown and suggestions on what you can do to make healthier lunches and snacks for you and your family.

[TAKE THE QUIZ: Which Product Has More Sodium?]

LUNCH: Instead of deli-sliced turkey on white bread with American cheese and mayo:

  • 3 oz deli oven roasted turkey -- 420 mg sodium
  • 2 slices white Wonder bread -- 300 mg sodium
  • 1 slice Kraft American cheese -- 200 mg sodium
  • 1 Tbsp Hellman’s mayo -- 90 mg sodium

TOTAL: 1,010 mg sodium

Try grilled chicken breast with Swiss cheese on an English muffin with mustard:

  • 3 oz baked or grilled chicken breast -- 75 mg sodium
  • 1 honey wheat Thomas’ English muffin -- 180 mg sodium
  • 1 slice baby Swiss cheese -- 35 mg sodium
  • 1 tsp French’s yellow mustard -- 55 mg sodium

TOTAL: 345 mg sodium -- a difference of 665 mg sodium

Also consider trying this fresh food lunch recipe as an option:

Turkey Taco Boats

  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 large outer Romaine leaves
  • 3 oz cooked extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen, thawed organic sweet corn or kernels sliced from 1 medium ear of fresh roasted organic corn
  • 4 lime wedges
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ of a medium avocado, sliced

On stovetop over medium heat, sauté peppers and onions in broth until tender, set aside. Mix cilantro into ground turkey. Fill each Romaine leaf with turkey, then corn and squeeze with fresh lime. Top with salsa, sautéed vegetables and avocado and serve.

Sodium total: 386 mg

SNACKS: Instead of Cheetos and Oreo cookies:

  • 1 single serving snack bag of Cheetos -- 290 mg sodium
  • 1 Oreo cookie from a 12-pack single serve -- 240 mg sodium

TOTAL: 530 mg sodium

Try plain Lay’s potato chips and Hershey kisses:

  • 1 single serving bag of regular Lay’s potato chips -- 180 mg sodium
  • 9 Hershey kisses -- 35 mg sodium

TOTAL: 215 mg sodium -- a different of 315 mg sodium

Also consider trying this fresh food snack recipe as an option:

Vanilla Almond Frozen Banana

  • 6 oz fat free organic yogurt
  • Seeds from 1 small vanilla bean or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 small banana peeled, not sliced
  • ¼ cup rolled oats (raw or toasted on a cookie sheet)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced or chopped almonds

Stir vanilla into yogurt. Dip banana into yogurt or spoon yogurt over banana to coat thoroughly. Mix oats and almonds. Sprinkle banana with nut mixture, wrap in wax paper and freeze at least 20 minutes.    

Sodium total: 120 mg

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Americans Pick Their Favorite Salty Snacks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The heck with hypertension, Americans love their salty snacks and the number one treat, according to a brand recognition survey by YouGov BrandIndex, is Ritz Crackers.

It's the second year in a row that the Nabisco product, a favorite since the 1930’s, has topped the list with an overall favorability rating of 55.2, just a smidgen higher than in 2011.

Trailing Ritz in second place is Lay’s Potato Chips while Doritos Tortilla Chips and Fritos Corn Chips, each made by Frito-Lay’s, finished third and fourth. Here’s the top ten:

1. Ritz
2. Lay's
3. Doritos
4. Fritos
5. Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
6. Wheat Thins
7. Tostitos
8. Cheetos
9. Pringles
10. Triscuit

YouGov conducted its survey of 1.5 million adults ages 18 and above by asking the question, “Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?” and using scores of 100 through minus 100 with negative feedback subtracted from positive responses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CDC: Kids Are Consuming Too Much Salt

Steven Puetzer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long warned about too much salt in adult diets. Now researchers at the CDC say kids consume just as much salt as adults.

Findings from a new study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that of more than 6,000 children tested, 15 percent of those had high blood pressure.

The study found that kids on average are consuming 3300 milligrams of salt every day. The CDC recommends the amount of salt we should all consume -- adults and kids alike -- should be no more than one teaspoon per day, or about 2300 milligrams.

Researchers found that those who ate the most salt had double the risk of higher blood pressure; for overweight or obese kids, the risk is even greater.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Has Saltiest Fast Food, Study Finds

David Livingston/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- If your favorite fast foods taste different in certain other countries, it could be because they have less salt, according to a new study.

Researchers collected data on the salt content of thousands of fast-food items from six different restaurant chains in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States and found that the same foods varied widely in their salt content among countries.

Fast foods in the United States and Canada were found to be much saltier than in the other countries. Chicken products in the United States, for example, contained 1.8 grams of salt per 100-gram serving compared with 1.1 grams in the United Kingdom.

The reasons for the differences in salt content are unclear, but the authors say it's not because companies can't manufacture foods that are lower in sodium.

"Some fast foods are very low in salt, so it is technologically possible for all foods to have a low salt content," said Dr. Norm Campbell, a co-a-author and professor of medicine, community health sciences and physiology and pharmacology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Several of the other researchers work with the World Action on Salt and Health, an international group whose goal is to gradually reduce salt intake around the world.

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults consume no more than about a teaspoon of sodium daily, and studies have found that reducing sodium in the diet can lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Other research, however, has called those findings into question, suggesting that lowering salt intake can actually have the opposite effect on the risk for heart disease.

Despite the controversy surrounding salt, Campbell and his co-authors argued that global salt consumption is much too high, and that the best strategy for reducing the public's salt intake is for governments to intervene and regulate salt content. Other attempts to lower salt consumption have been unsuccessful.

"Federal governments have a mandate for the safety of our food supply," he said.

One program underway in the United States is the National Salt Reduction Initiative, coordinated by the New York City Department of Health, which has set targets and timelines for food manufacturers and restaurants to voluntarily reduce sodium content in dozens of foods. So far, according to the program's website, nearly 30 different companies have agreed to participate.

The Salt Institute, a North American non-profit trade organization, responded to the study by saying that taste preferences in different countries dictate how foods are made, meaning that salt, sugar and other ingredients will naturally vary.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Where Do Americans Get Their Salt? The Answer May Surprise You

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you're worried about salt in your diet, you may want to break your bread habit.

Sure, chips and pretzels are packed with sodium, but it's bread -- the number one source of salt in the American diet, according to a new list from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- that's the silent killer.

It's not that bread and rolls are saltier than other foods, it's just that we eat a lot of them, the report says, and it adds up. We get about 7 percent of our daily salt from dough, the study shows.

The full CDC list is as follows:

  1. Breads and rolls
  2. Cold cuts/cured meats
  3. Pizza
  4. Poultry
  5. Soups
  6. Sandwiches
  7. Cheese
  8. Pasta mixed dishes
  9. Meat mixed dishes
  10. Savory snacks

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Addiction to Salt Starts at an Early Age, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- If you were exposed to treats rich in sodium during your infancy, chances are that's where your lifelong addiction to salty foods came from.

A new study from the Monell Center found that kids who started nibbling on starchy table foods at the age of six months seem to enjoy these salty treats more than babies who were steered away from them. Results of a preference test showed that children who had been exposed to starchy foods ate 55 percent more salt than infants who hadn't been exposed to them yet.

The strong role of early dietary experience was also evident in preschool, according to the researchers, as the kids who were turned on to salty foods were also more inclined to use plain salt than their contemporaries who didn't eat starchy treats.

Lead author Leslie J. Stein, Ph.D., a physiological psychologist at Monell, concluded, "More and more evidence is showing us that the first months of life constitute a sensitive period for shaping flavor preferences.  In light of the health consequences of excess sodium intake, we asked if the effect of early experience extended to salt."

Health experts have been trying to wean Americans off of salt for years, arguing that reducting intake would save 100,000 lives annually, not to mention billions in medical costs, since sodium is linked to hypertension, a major cause of heart attack and stroke.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nutritionist Offers Tips for Managing Sodium Intake at Mealtime

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Think twice before adding extra dressing to your salad at lunchtime. A few tablespoons of salad dressing alone could contain your recommended daily amount of sodium.

The FDA is considering a new recommendation for all Americans to lower their sodium intake from 3,400 mg to 1,500 mg per day -- that adds up to about 2/3 of a teaspoon. But considering the average American consumes more than double that on a daily basis, it’s not going to be easy.

Restaurants may also have to lower the amount of salt in their dishes, following the successful artificial trans-fats fight, launched nationwide in 2006.

ABC’s Nightline asked nutritionist and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass to create four average dinners to see just how quickly that salt can add up. Here is her breakdown of a kid’s meal, a microwave meal, a football game day meal and a date night meal:

MEAL 1 - Kids Dinner: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Condensed Soup – 1,775 mg
2 slices wheat bread – 320 mg
2 slices Kraft singles – 560 mg
1 Tbsp margarine – 100 mg
Total: 2,755 mg

MEAL 2 - Microwave Dinner: Frozen Chicken Pot Pie & Salad with Ranch Dressing
Marie Callendar’s Chicken Pot Pie – 1,700 mg
Dole bagged salad – 10 mg
Kraft ranch dressing, 2 Tbsp – 370 mg
Total: 2,080 mg

MEAL 3 - Football Game Day: Pizza Delivery & Wings
4 slices medium Pizza Hut pepperoni pan pizza – 2,360 mg
4 medium traditional Buffalo wings – 1,600 mg
Total: 3,960 mg

MEAL 4 - Date Night: Olive Garden’s Salad & Lasagna
1 serving garden fresh salad with dressing – 1,930 mg
Classic lasagna – 2,830 mg
Total: 4,760 mg

All of these meals top the 1,500 mg recommendation for the whole day -- and each was just one meal!  The Olive Garden dinner is more than three days worth of sodium rolled into just one of your three meals of the day.

Sass recommends reading labels carefully -- counting calories isn’t enough anymore. Here is an example of Sass’s recommendation for a healthier meal:

MEAL 5 - Family Dinner: Stir Fry Chicken with Brown Rice
2 cups Asian vegetable mix – 30 mg
Stir fry sauce recipe: 1 Tbsp 100 percent orange juice, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp chopped scallions, ½ tsp fresh grated ginger, dash crushed red pepper – 0 mg
3 oz chicken breast – 64 mg
1 cup brown rice – 10 mg
Total: 104 mg

Tune into ABC’s Nightline Tuesday at 11:35 p.m. ET to see more of Sass’ tips.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Meets to Discuss Strategies for Reducing Salt Intake

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a day-long hearing Thursday, discussing strategies to help Americans cut the salt from their diets -- the latest assault in the crusade against sodium.

In the past few decades, the government has created guidelines, cajoled industry groups and garnered support from major medical groups such as the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association to encourage more Americans to get the salt out of their diets. Their action stems from the medical wisdom that many know by heart: a diet high in salt raises blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and a host of other cardiovascular problems. If the food industry, restaurants and citizens cut their daily salt intake, the feds argue, the national burden of cardiovascular disease would be eased.

The FDA's goal is to get the food industry to gradually reduce the amount of salt in processed and restaurant foods, which account for 75 percent of Americans' salt intake, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But a number of scientists and physicians say that the case against salt is far from closed. The evidence connecting high-sodium diets with heart disease and death is flimsy, they argue, and does not warrant such sweeping changes in salt consumption.

"Other than in those patients with underlying heart or kidney failure, there is little conclusive evidence that moderate salt intake actually increases heart disease risk," said Dr. Stuart Seides, associate director of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center.

At the forefront of the fight to save salt is the Salt Institute, an industry group representing salt manufacturers.

The group is mobilizing a grassroots effort to save their seasoning, including a Facebook page and a two-minute YouTube video featuring the group's vice president of science and research, Mortin Satin, the "Salt Guru" who exhorts all salt lovers to send in comments to the FDA's hearing, warning the feds to keep their hands off salt.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Should Cut the Salt, Public Health Group Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- One public health group wants the federal government to skimp on the salt, in the name of helping Americans cut their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

On Tuesday, the American Public Health Association (APHA) urged the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating the amount of salt that winds up in processed foods. The group also said the FDA should remove or change salt’s status as a “Generally Recognized as Safe” ingredient, a designation that places few limits on the amount of sodium that can be added to foods.

“Reducing the amount of sodium added in the manufacturing and commercial preparation of food is a prudent and safe public health intervention, and the single most effective means of reducing the sodium intake of Americans,” the APHA said in a statement.

According to the FDA, the major culprits in salty American diets are processed and restaurant-prepared foods, which account for around 75 percent of Americans’ total salt intake.

Citing “strong, continuous, graded, consistent, independent” data linking high salt intake to increased blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, the APHA urged the FDA to reduce salt in the American diet by 75 percent over the next 10 years.

The APHA joins a growing chorus of groups such as the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Heart Association that say Americans should eat far less salt than they do, and even less than the amount currently recommended by the federal government.

In 2010, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines set the recommended daily level of sodium intake at 2,300 milligrams for the general population, and 1,500 milligrams for people older than age 50, African-Americans, and anyone who has high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Many medical groups, including the APHA, say all Americans should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. That’s about the amount found in 1 cup of canned refried beans and a slice of white bread, or a quarter-pounder with cheese and a medium fries at McDonald’s.

The Salt Institute, an industry group representing salt companies, said that level of salt is too low and consuming such a low-sodium diet would negatively affect the health of all Americans.

Mortin Satin, vice president of science and research at the Salt Institute, said he disputes the evidence touted by medical groups that high salt intake has negative health consequences, noting that the human body actually relies on sodium to function.

“There are biological processes, physiological processes that respond when the body gets too little salt,” Satin said. “There’s a whole series of roles that salt has to play, it’s critical in the food system. You can’t just get rid of salt, you have to replace it.”

Satin said he doesn’t dispute the risks of high blood pressure, but noted that there are many ways in which Americans can reduce their blood pressure, such as getting more exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables.

In October, the Salt Institute accused the federal government of bias and of breaking federal law by disregarding scientific literature in its recommendations that Americans consume less sodium.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio