With the majority of Americans eating TWICE as much salt as they should
on a regular
basis, the FDA just issued new guidelines for exactly how
much of the evil white crystal you should consume daily. It’s
not a one-size-fits-all rule.
Take a moment
to… Read more
Shake Free from Sinister Salt!
Just last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
issued new recommendations, urging Americans to reduce the amount
of salt they consume.
Back in 2005, FDA officials set a target of
no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (the equivalent
of 1 teaspoon of table salt) for healthy adults. For
anyone with high blood pressure, or at high risk for developing it,
the goal was set at 1,500 mg. Now the FDA says that even
more of us need to cut back.
The new guidelines still encourage healthy adults to
stick with the 2,300 daily mg rule, but they have expanded the
scope of at-risk adults to also include those with chronic kidney
disease or diabetes. For all of them, the 1,500 mg total is best.
One FDA source, as reported by The Washington Post, explained
that this new effort is not simply “rolling off a log.” Rather, “we're
talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient.
We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people."
Reiterating the fact that high-salt intake is linked
to chronic health problems such as heart disease and stroke––the first
and third-leading causes of death among Americans today––the
FDA’s new efforts also warn that too much salt increases risk of
osteoporosis and kidney stones. Some studies have even shown a relationship
between a high-salt diet and stomach cancer.
In what is perhaps no coincidence, a separate investigation
from the Institute of Medicine released findings the same day news
broke of the FDA’s efforts: researchers found that, on average,
Americans consume a whopping 3,500 mg of salt daily. According to a similar
2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
this nutritional indulgence alone puts almost 70% of us into a health-risk
So far, no one has pinpointed the optimal daily sodium intake. Nor have
researchers determined the lowest amount of salt we actually need. However,
all data regarding the relationship between sodium and health
would suggest that the less you consume, the healthier you’ll be. Here
are two easy adjustments to consider…
Eat Out Less… Americans are eating out more
than ever (which may be one reason more than 65% of us are now overweight
or obese). According to a recent report by The Keystone Center, commissioned
by the FDA, Americans spend about 46% of their food budget on food prepared
away from home and take in 32% of their calories from restaurant or takeout
food. And our most popular menu choices? A top favorite, McDonald’s Quarter
Pounder, weighs in at 730 mg of sodium. Most single orders of French
fries contain 270 mg. The Taco Bell Bean Burrito has 1,270 mg and Dominos
pizza costs you anywhere from 360-700 mg per slice. Tasty, but
To help residents combat yummy mistakes, New York City began a partnership
in January with its local city restaurants and food companies to lower
the level of sodium used in the most common food choices, making it easier
for people to eat out and control their health.
Eat More Fresh Food, Prepared at Home… One
of the easiest ways you can reduce the salt in your diet is to cook
healthy meals more regularly, using the freshest ingredients. Research
indicates that home-cooked meals are typically lower in sodium than
restaurant food. When grocery shopping, look for “lower-sodium” products,
as well as fresh meat and vegetables rather than canned or processed
alternatives. At home, season your food with herbs and spices rather
than table salt. Rinse canned foods, such as tuna; and limit smoked
or cured meat. And whenever possible, avoid “instant” foods, which
almost always contain relatively high sodium levels.
Amazing-Health Tip: Try
fresh squeezed lemon juice as a salt alternative. You can use it after
an item has been cooked or with raw produce, to give food extra flavor.
Lemon juice also acts as a natural preservative, so it can keep cut
fruit fresher, longer. See our featured recipe, in which lemon juice
substitutes for salt.
The Recipe Box
Green Beans &
■ ½ lb green beans
■ 1 cup heirloom tomatoes
■ ½ clove minced garlic
■ juice of 1 lemon
■ 1 tbsp olive oil
- Lightly sauté green beans in a large skillet along with minced garlic and
1/2 tablespoon olive oil for about 2 minutes.
Season with pepper and add the tomatoes. Cook until just softened (about
Stir in lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Then cover and cook until the beans
are tender, about 3 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and briefly stir in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon
Serves 4-6 as a hot side dish. Also great the next day, served cold!