Entries in Sodium (12)


American Heart Association Stands Firm on Daily Salt Intake Recommendation

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There is some disagreement among experts about how much salt is too much. Now the American Heart Association has weighed in with the latest opinion.

Even when we're not shaking salt on to our meals, we are still consuming it from all kinds of foods. In fact, most of the sodium in the typical American diet comes from processed and prepared foods.
While there is wide agreement that Americans consume too much salt, and that it contributes to high blood pressure and other problems, there have been recent calls to increase the recommended daily salt allowance for healthy people.
After a broad review of the data, the AHA is standing firm in its guidelines. They say the evidence is strong to restrict salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day -- even in healthy people. That's less than one teaspoon of table salt.

The group says lowering salt intake has multiple health effects, notably decreasing cardiovascular and kidney disease. They state some of the recent calls for higher salt allowances are "based on flawed analyses of data from observational studies that were not planned to study sodium relationships, with great potential to yield misleading results, and on misinterpretation of clinical trial results."

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


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


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 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


Too Much Salt, Too Little Exercise Bad for Brain

Comstock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Too much salt and too little exercise is hard on the heart, but new research suggests it can be hard on the brain, too.

A three-year study of more than 1,200 people has linked a salty diet and sedentary lifestyle to cognitive decline in old age.

"It's important for people to know there are things you can do to help protect your brains as you're aging," said study author Carol Greenwood, a nutrition scientist and interim director of the Baycrest Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research in Toronto.  "You do have some control, and lifestyle is key."

Using data from the Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging, a study of people between the ages of 67 and 84, Greenwood and colleagues found that men and women with the highest daily sodium intake and the lowest level of exercise performed poorer over time on cognitive tests than those with low sodium intake and an active lifestyle.  The findings held up even when the researchers controlled for such factors as education, waist circumference, diabetes and overall diet.

"This is the first study to extend the benefits of low sodium intake to brain health in healthy older adults," the authors wrote in their report published in the Neurobiology of Aging.

The study adds to mounting evidence that too much salt can have serious health consequences.

"The reality is that excess sodium affects not only blood pressure but bone health, and probably cardiac health overall," said Dr. David Katz, director of Medical Studies in Public Health at Yale University.  "And further, it tends to be a marker of an overly processed diet that is itself harmful in a variety of ways."

Replacing processed foods that are naturally high in salt with natural foods such as fruits and vegetables is an easy way to lower salt intake.

Although cutting down on salt is a safe move, staying fit might be the more important factor when it comes to protecting cognition with age.

"People who were physically active were protected, regardless of their sodium intake," said Greenwood.  "What's important is maintaining the integrity of the cardiovascular system, and the benefits of exercise are going to outweigh any negative effects we see with salt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


School Nutrition: Big Strides, Some Leftover Concerns

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may not be something you associate with school cafeterias, but a new report released by the School Nutrition Association shows you can find all those things in 97 to 98 percent of America's schools.

Helen Phillips, president of the School Nutrition Association, tells ABC News that school lunches are really changing.

“Across the country we are seeing that more school districts are providing fresh fruits and vegetables, more school districts are providing an increased in whole grain foods that we offer to students,” Phillips said. “Also, milk is changing from being a whole fat milk down to skim or 1 percent milk.”

This most recent report comes as the country continues to battle obesity, and perhaps more alarming – obesity among children.

“Down the road it's going to save so much money in health care by having kids that aren't being a burden on the system,” Phillips said.

One area that still needs work, Phillips notes, is the amount of sodium that appears in children’s food.

“We've been kind of trained as Americans to have a little bit of a saltier taste for things, so by schools cutting back, we kind of need help from industry, restaurants and the parents at home to do the same.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Campbell Soup CEO Irks Health Industry with Plans to Increase Salt

PRNewsFoto/Campbell Soup Company/Clifton Brewer(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- Campbell Soup Co.'s incoming CEO is drawing fire from health advocates after announcing plans to put more salt in Campbell Soups.

Denise Morrison told 100 investment analysts at a presentation on Tuesday that her strategy to build business was "not just reducing sodium.  You need to provide products that taste good."

Jonathan Feeney, senior food and beverage analyst at Janney Capital Markets, was thrilled with the news, exclaiming, "That is awesome.  That is what is needed.  In a nutshell, low sodium was overdone."

Like other food companies, Campbell has made an effort in recent years to come out with more low sodium products.  But business has suffered because of the economic downturn and Morrison suggested that it's time get back to the Campbell Soups that consumers have known and loved for generations dating back to 1869.

Predictably, the health industry doesn't see it that way, contending that salt is a leading contributor to high blood pressure.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest has gone as far as to call Campbell's soups "disease-promoting cans of salt and water."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio