Thursday, May 20, 2010

Food Revolution Friday: Salty Canadians

Photo Credit: TooFarNorth

I have been sick. Seems I caught a bug that settled in my throat, and all week I've been hacking away as if I'm about to bring up a lung or something.

Real chic, huh? People have been backing away from me like I have the plague.

Frustrated with the coughing, I finally went and got some prescription strength cough syrup, and so now I'm writing while I'm on codeine. This could be fun. I might regret it in the morning. Let me know if I said anything stupid, okay?

This week I made a startling discovery, and if you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard me talking about it.

Some time ago I had been watching Global, and a nutritionist was on talking about sodium. I didn't think much of it at the time, but out of sheer curiosity I checked the label on Jake's box of Raisin Brain.

Sodium: 340 mg per 1 cup serving

Wow! That seemed sorta high. It's just Raisin Bran, after all. The nutritionist had said anything over 400 was WAY too much, and that is pushing the envelope. Later in the week I bought a bag of Lay's Classic potato chips. (I had a craving. Don't judge me)

Sodium: 330 mg per 50 g bag

What. the. HELL?!?

How about Dempster's Smart 7 inch flour tortillas? You know, the small ones that you'll likely eat two or three of? That are "SMART", which is supposed to translate to "healthy"?

Sodium: 400 mg per tortilla

Just to put this into perspective, the average adult is only supposed to consume 1500 mg or LESS sodium per day. Just have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and two tortillas (not to mention anything in them) at dinner, and you've already consumed a whopping 1140 mg. Add a couple pickles to that, and you're well into 2690 mg.

Why should you care how much sodium you're eating?

According to the Canadian Stroke Network, 1 in 4 adults in Canada has hypertension, and excess sodium is a risk factor that contributes towards high blood pressure. Besides that, excessive sodium intake has been linked to other health issues.

I poked around a little more and found this Globe and Mail article from last year, detailing that products sold in Canada have more sodium than the same products sold in other countries. Shocked? I was. Why is there so much salt in our food?

Some companies think that we want it that way. They say that we demand the salt to make things taste better. Even Gerber's Graduates Lil' Entrees Chicken & Pasta Wheel Pick Ups has a whopping 550 mg of sodium. To put that into perspective, that's the same as two orders of McDonald's french fries. (source: This article)

For a TODDLER. How would a toddler know enough to demand salt? If I was a parent of a small child, I'd be outraged.

Up until this week, I had no idea that we were consuming so much salt and it disgusts me that companies seem to take advantage of the fact that we consumers don't actually read the labels anyway, so how are we to know?

Knowledge is power. You can bet that every time I go to the store now, I'm checking the labels and avoiding anything with 300 mg or more per serving. Most of the time I'm going to shoot for under 200 mg. My family doesn't need to be eating that much sodium.

We're salty enough, thank you very much.

Want to know more? Sodium has loads of information!

Is there anything you've discovered this week in your Food Revolution that you have found shocking, surprising, or just plain weird?

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