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Sodium traps

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

So my status today referred to something I'd just learned the other day - cottage cheese, that wondrous way to boost protein, is also a "wondrous" way to boost sodium intake.

See, I knew I was getting a lot of excess sodium out of my lunches. I eat packaged meals. It's pretty much a given that most of them have somewhere in the 600-1000 mg range of sodium. BUT, that's less than half the daily allowed amount. It wasn't making sense that I was just blazing past - given that the only thing I've actually added salt to is scrambled eggs and that a tiny sprinkle (dash).

Until just these last couple of days, I did not know how or where to see how much sodium each food I tracked during a day had other than going to the nutritional info one by one. Rather time-consuming, so I didn't bother - and just sighed when day after day I was bouncing around way over the maximum recommended amount.

Then I discovered one of the reports is a completely nutritional review and shows the sodium column (since I have it set to track). And that's where I'm suddenly learning about higher sodium quantities in things I wouldn't even have considered a problem.

Number one (and the big thing on my status) is cottage cheese. I love cottage cheese. I can eat it plain, though I prefer it mixed with a cup of fruit in juice (pineapple most often, but mixed fruit with pears and peaches is okay too). It's a great way to make sure I meat my desired 80g of protein. And I've always eaten 2%, so fat isn't an issue either. Turns out my 1 cup (8 oz) of cottage cheese is a whopping 880 mg of sodium.

As I say in my status, I knew that milk had a sodium content. I learned that a long time ago trying to figure out why dipping french fries in chocolate shakes tasted soooo good. I discovered there was a healthy amount of sodium in the shakes and in milk.

But milk (1% being what I prefer) has around 160 mg of sodium to about 130 calories. A Wendy's Frosty has 100 mg of sodium to about 170 calories. Cottage cheese? A whopping 880 mg to about 200 calories.

So tonight I bypassed the cottage cheese and went for some canned white albacore in water. Nice lean protein. With around 270 mg of sodium to 100 calories. Which pretty closely matches the cheeses I usually eat.

I'm grateful I don't normally have issues with sodium. My desire to control it a little better isn't because of a current health problem. It's to avoid a future one.

I don't, and never have, been a salter. I never reach for the salt shaker at a restaurant. In fact, while most people love french fries, I would only get them on very rare occasions ... when I had a salt craving. That usually only happened if I was drinking a LOT of water (10-12 or more glasses). I blamed milk for keeping me from craving salt much.

Now I'm having to really rethink things. Sure, packaged foods have quite a bit of salt. But even foods I don't automatically think of as salty have both natural sodium and, in cases such as cottage cheese, ADDED sodium. (I looked. It's on the ingredient list that they added salt.)

Ah, the sodium traps are well-laid. But now I know to watch for them.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • WINNIE1978
    I love cottage cheese, but with that sodium content I steer clear of it now.

    I watch my sodium pretty closely, not because I have a health problem, but because I lose weight more consistently when I keep my sodium level in check. It is crazy to discover which foods are high in sodium... sometimes it's things that you'd never suspect. We don't use canned vegetables often, but when we do it's usually green beans that we are throwing into the crock pot with a recipe... I was shocked that 1/2 a cup of green beans, something that is supposed to be healthy, has 400 mg sodium or more. We also discovered that a lot of frozen veggies, even the ones without sauces, have a lot of sodium too. We now buy most of our veggies fresh and the low sodium or no salt added varieties of just about everything.
    2213 days ago
    You are one smart cookie.. bu honestly it's nearly impossible to avoid all of the sodium traps. What you could in fact do is up your potassium intake (baked potato w skin, squash, lima beans, mushrooms, melons, etc) to help flush it out of yr body daily. Or take a multi-mineral, etc Drink plenty of water to of course & up yr fiber to help w the elimination of salt waste as well ;)

    Oh and the Breakstone's 100 Calories Cottage Doubles are fine, where they give a you a small serving of the cottage cheese w fruit. Sodium is isn't as bad as say yr usual cup of sodium... I eat 'em practically every day usually after a workout. Great protein & carb replenisher :D g'luck!
    2214 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/3/2012 2:46:14 AM
    I don't know where you live, but at my co-op we have cottage cheese that is no sodium added-- so it only has 60 mg of sodium per serving. It doesn't taste the same, so I add a bunch of spices to it (cinnamon and raisins, mango and coconut, or savory, pepper and tomatoes) to make it yummy...
    2215 days ago
  • RIKKI572
    You are so right!! And, everytime you think you've figured out all the "traps", another one comes along!!
    Hae a great day.
    2215 days ago
  • SAMI199
    Great blog! I am very careful about the sodium.It took time, as I was guilty of the salt first-taste later mindset. It can be done-now,I actually find some things too salty to eat. Now,on to the sweets-lol. Have a good day.

    emoticon emoticon
    2215 days ago
    You are so right. You can't even let your taste buds decide if something is salty. I was gonna blog about later today. Probably still will if I don't run out of steam. emoticon
    2215 days ago
  • TIFFY0906
    Sodium is everywhere and one of the reasons I stopped eating one of my all time favorites - pickles. For those big pickles that come in single package has no calories but about 2,700mg of sodium. I still crave these so I will probably start back eating them but in much smaller portions.

    I don't even prepare my food with salt or seasonings that have sodium. I use Mrs. Dash or Perfect Pinch with no MSG and no salt. I have been doing great with my sodium intake even on the days I go out.

    I don't eat cottage cheese but didn't know it had that much sodium. wow.
    2215 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/1/2012 1:25:57 PM
    WOW I didn't know that about cottage cheese...thanx for pointing it out !!!! :)
    2215 days ago
    I am sure you will figure a way out !!
    2215 days ago
    I set sodium intake on my tracker several months ago and only make it below 2300mg per day about 50% of the time and I average over 2300mg all the time. I don't add salt to anything and have cut way back on packaged food. I feel like I'm doing better with this and I'm happy with my progress for now. I realize that I will need to lower it further very soon. I didn't know cottage cheese has that much sodium. I only eat it occasionally, but will now consider cutting it out of my diet completely.
    2215 days ago
  • SASSY5468
    Nice job on keeping track of something that could be a potential problem, but isn't currently! I'm not a salter either and should be tracking my sodium. You've inspired me to check it out :)
    2215 days ago
    I track all my nutrients now...the extra things you track are listed on the bottom of your nutrition tracker in the box in order you add them...I too watch my sodium intake and am amazed at how many things have it in them! I expect them in certain things but other things I never would have guessed...I don't eat cottage cheese but I have noticed when I have more than one serving of cheddar my sodium goes bananas!
    2215 days ago
    Forgive me -- I can't remember -- are you eating low carb? If so, a higher sodium intake is actually beneficial. (If not, sorry!)
    2215 days ago
    I've tracked my sodium daily since the beginning of Sparking, and it's a great help.
    2215 days ago
    I am not a "salter" either. I don't add salt to our family's food when I prepare it. I rarely even have it on the table. I am trying to avoid salt issues for all of us.
    2215 days ago
  • LGAR519
    I quickly ran, well maybe walked, to my refrigerator and checked my skim milk carton. It has 120mg. in 8 oz. Only 80 calories.
    2215 days ago
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