Know Food Now How to Develop Healthy Eating Patterns Around Salt and Reduce Sodium Intake | Know Food Now

Monday, December 26, 2011

How to Develop Healthy Eating Patterns Around Salt and Reduce Sodium Intake

It would be great to wrap up a to do list of dietary guidelines in a nutshell.  Unfortunately they are not easily encapsulated.
Take sodium for example. The USDA, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion suggests that an adequate intake (AI) of sodium for most people under 50, is 1500mg with an upper limit of 2300mg.
All African Americans, people over 51, and people with  hypertension, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should not consume more than 1500mg of sodium daily. 
That said the estimated average intake of sodium per person in the U.S. is approximately 3,400 mg per day.  Obviously a lot of people are not trying to curb salt intake.  And for others, the task is difficult to accomplish. Table salt is not the culprit, rather salt in processed foods such as yeast breads, cured meats, baked goods, chicken dishes, pizza and pasta.  For a comprehensive list of sodium culprits see: 
DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS, 2010  | Chapter Three p. 22,Fig 3-2. Sources of sodium in the diets of the u.s. Population ages 2 years and older,   nhanes 2005–2006
The USDA Dietary Guidelines make common sense recommendations for consuming less sodium. 1) Read the Nutrition Facts on foods and purchase those that reduce sodium intake. 2) Buy foods that are fresh that you can prepare at home with controlled salt. 3) When eating out, ask restaurants not to add salt while cooking your order.
Because salt is so pervasive in our diets, the more you eat, the more sodium you consume.  The USDA makes a final recommendation that reducing caloric intake will reduce sodium intake.   
The main reason to develop healthy eating patterns around sodium is that sodium reduction will lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
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