Health Media Today
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7 Hidden Sources of Salt in Your Diet
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Nutrition
The average Canadian consumes 3400 mg of salt a day - more than double what our bodies actually need. A diet consistently high in sodium has been linked to high blood pressure which in turn is a huge risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. In our fast-paced lives, controlling the amount of sodium in our diets is easier said than done when pre-packaged and pre-prepared foods are convenient and common – and loaded with salt.
Here are some hidden sources of sodium that you may not think about in your quest to live a healthier life and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
Salad dressings, relish, and ketchup can all contain high amounts of sodium to help give them that flavour punch you expect in your meals. Read your labels and use low sodium options or cut down on condiments altogether.
PASTA SAUCE AND TINNED TOMATOES
Tinned or jarred pasta sauces are notoriously high in sodium but opting to make your own from tinned tomatoes can be just as dangerous if you don’t read your labels. Many popular brands of tinned tomatoes contain salt but unsalted versions are available if you look for them.
It’s not just sugar you have to look out for when you’re choosing a breakfast cereal. Brands such as Rice Krispies and Special K can have up to 85% more salt in Canada than the identical product in the U.S. so make sure you are getting your nutritional information right from the box and not from websites which may site the American versions of these foods.
Similar to breakfast cereals, Canadian versions of fast food favourites from McDonalds other chains often have more sodium in the Canadian versions of the foods. Don’t rely on American sources to judge the nutritional content of your fast foods.
BAKED GOODS AND BAKING MIXES
Ideally we would all have time to bake our own breads and treats so that we can control the ingredients but we all know that’s just not practical. Keep in mind that store bought baked goods and baking mixes can contain much more sodium than the homemade equivalent. This includes products that you would never consider a salty treat, like bagels and muffin mixes.
FOODS LABELLED LOW FAT AND HEART HEALTHY
It could be easy to assume that low fat foods are overall healthier for your body but you would be wrong. Studies have shown that companies often make up for the loss of flavour that comes from taking out the fat by substituting it with sodium. Similarly, foods labelled with and kind of heart healthy logo are usually referring to lower fats or cholesterol, not lower sodium levels. Read your labels carefully.
DIET SOFT DRINKS
They may not having the calories or sugar of regular pop but they compensate with added sodium – almost double the amount in some brands. If you think you’re doing your body a favour by switching to diet pop, think again.