- 77% sodium intake from hidden salt* (see table below)
- 10% sodium from salt shaker and cooking
- 13% sodium naturally in food
Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk for stroke, congestive heart failure and heart disease, and weight gain from retained fluid.
Blood pressure: Ideal: 120/80 High: 140/90 Diabetic high: 130/90
Canadian’s average intake 3400mg/day! Upper limit for healthy individuals: 2300mg/day = 1 tsp.
At risk or with high blood pressure max: 1500mg/day = 2/3 tsp
|The main culprits||The sneaky ones|
|• Frozen and ready-to-eat meals
• Deli and processed meats
• Prepared soups and broths
• Snack foods like pretzels, chips, nachos
• Restaurant meals and fast food
• Condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish
• Pancakes, waffles, muffins
• Baking powder and baking soda
• Tomato and alfredo sauces
• Seasoned meats such as chicken and pork
• Vegetable and tomato juices
What to Look for
- Read the label. Choose foods with a %Daily Value of 5%-10% (the lower the better).
- Na and sodium also means salt. Look at the list of ingredients for words such as monosodium glutamate/MSG, sodium sulfite, disodium phosphate, sodium citrate.
- Choose foods that state ‘low sodium’, ‘low salt’, and ‘no added salt’. Be careful with ‘reduced salt/sodium’ claims.
Shake the salt out of your diet
Here are a few tips to keep your sodium intake under control without missing it.
- Don’t add salt while cooking or at the table.
- Avoid seasonings and sauces high in sodium such as: soy sauce, chili sauce, steak spice/sauce, meat tenderizer, bouillon.
- The sodium content in various brand name products can vary significantly. Compare labels and serving sizes.
- Season food with lemon, garlic, pepper, herbs etc. Careful of prepared seasoning mixes.
- When dining out ask your server for low sodium options or request that your meal is prepared without salt.
- Taste buds are not the best salt detectors. Saltiness can be masked by other flavours such as sweetness. The nutritional label is your best bet.
- Take caution with certain headache and heartburn medications
- Decrease salt intake gradually, your taste buds will adapt to the change.
Sugar isn’t so Sweet
– Sugar is sugar whether it comes from natural sources or it’s added to food and beverages. The body uses all sources in the same manner.
– 4g of sugar = 1tsp of sugar = 16 calories
– The American Heart Association recommends
– Daily limit of added sugar: 9tsp for men
6tsp for women
– Choose sugar from ‘natural sources’ such as fruit, vegetables, and milk providing many nutrients especially vitamins & minerals. These foods also aid in weight loss, diabetes control and heart health.
– Limit/avoid ‘added’ sugar products. Most provide ‘empty’ calories (and often more fat) with little nutrients. Sugar can lead to weight gain, high blood sugars, elevated triglycerides (a factor in heart disease) and increase sugar cravings.
–Limit/avoid intake of the obvious foods, candies, cakes, chocolate, ice cream, sweet beverages, etc.
– Hidden sugar is found in many processed foods including muffins, cereals, juices and yogurt
– Commercial muffin: 4 tsp sugar
– Cold cereal (30g): 3.5 tsp sugar
– Yogurt (3/4 cup): 4 tsp sugar
– Apple juice (1 cup): 7 tsp
– Check the list of ingredients: Sugar has many names – brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, sugar cane, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, those ending in ‘ose’ like sucrose, glucose, frustose, dextrose, maltose.
Busting the sweet myths
– There’s not a significant nutritional difference between white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or molasses.
– Sugar itself does not cause diabetes but the weight gain caused by excessive sugar intake can increase risk.
– Choose fruit over fruit juices. Even 100% fruit juices are loaded with sugar and ‘empty’ calories. Fruit provides fibre and less sugar.
– Sugar is not proven to cause hyperactivity in children. It may be the caffeine (cola, chocolate) or a child’s sugar association with positive times (ie. parties, holidays) that is to blame.
– Artificial sweeteners (ie. sucralose, aspartame, sorbitol) provides no calories and are proven to be safe. Eating too much of certain sweeteners can lead to bloating and gas. Choosing to eat artificial sweeteners is a matter of personal choice but with moderation in mind.
Tips to cut back the sugar:
– You may find the more you eat, the more you crave. It’s challenging to resist at first but stay focused. It gets easier as your taste buds adjust.
– Check nutritional labels. Choose foods with the least amount of sugar.
– Slowly cut back added sugar to beverages, cereals and pancakes. Substitute with fruit when appropriate or use artificial sweeteners.
– Choose sugar-free or low-calorie beverages or better yet drink water.
– Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice.
– Cut back the sugar in your baking by a ¼ – ½. You can also substitute with applesauce and other fruit purees.
– Substitute sweetness with other flavouring agents such as vanilla extract, orange or lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger, allspice.