I assumed I was eating correctly and never gave sodium a second thought.
Mom needed to watch her blood pressure so I stopped salting foods or cooking with salt. I’ve used a substitute (love Mrs. Dash) for years. As I progressed on my Spark journey, I faithfully checked my daily tracker and adjusted my foods to consume the correct amount of calories, carbs and protein. I rewarded myself when I did and changed my pattern when I didn’t. I was stunned to learn the foods I chose to help me become ‘healthy’ were loaded with sodium.
I stopped drinking V8 juice (11.5 ounce can has 690 mg of sodium) once I finally read the label, but it never occurred to me that my good old oatmeal contained salt. I quit eating breakfast once I left for college and was proud I restarted because of Spark. Due to a hectic schedule, I eat at work. (I am blessed with that option which I understand many Sparkers do not have…) We shop @ Sams and buy in bulk, so when I saw the Quaker Instant Oatmeal packs, I was in heaven. Not ‘til I reached goal did I start tracking sodium and then I learned that every day I was consistently consuming 170 mg of sodium (not to mention 12 g of sugar…).
I also assumed my canned (in water) albacore tuna was healthy (aside from the BPA issue),
but a 5 oz can contains 2.5 servings = 625 mg of sodium. Finally, my lowfat cottage cheese ‘weighed in’ @ 460 mg per ˝ cup. Four ‘healthy’ foods = 85% of my MAXIMUM daily sodium intake.
I’ve since ‘voted with my fork’ and switched to Quick – 1 Minute Oatmeal (sodium free, +20 calories), but since the only difference is the size of the oat, find it irritating the company did not offer a sodium free instant option, particularly since they’re mincing the oats before adding sodium and sugar… I have DH grill an extra Sea Choice Wild Alaskan Salmon Burger (3.2 oz, 260 mg of sodium) to take for lunch, and I’ve substituted Lucerne Cottage Cheese, 1% Milkfat, No Salt Added (no more fat or calories and 1/10th the sodium) for my former cottage cheese. Three HEALTHY foods @ 13% my daily sodium value.
I’ve asked the SparkTeam to consider adding sodium as a default to the nutrition tracker to help us not only 'vote with our forks', but make healthier choices from the beginning of our health journeys. The change may be technically unfeasible or politically impractical (many people might want other nutrients tracked), but I am hopeful they will give it due consideration.
If you aren’t tracking your sodium intake, you can click the “Change Nutrition Goals” button at the top center of your myNutrition page. After adding sodium (and other nutrients), you can track either at the bottom left of the page or by clicking the “See Today’s Full Report” at the bottom right of the myNutrition page.
The food giants are coming to the table in the US with pledges of reducing 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.
While entirely too slow, it is a step forward and if we ‘vote with our forks’, we might convince them to lower the sodium content as well.