Category Archives: salt

Electrolytes vital for good health – Rush

Most often linked to sports drinks, electrolytes are vital for good health

You’ve probably seen those ads for sports drinks that claim to offer better hydration than water during or after an intense workout. The reason, they say, is that sports drinks replenish electrolytes; water does not.

Are these claims valid, or are sports drink companies just trying to sell you their products? What, exactly, are electrolytes? And is it really so important to replace them?

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It turns out, there is some truth in advertising. According to Lynne Braun, PhD, CNP, a nurse practitioner with the Rush Heart Center for Women, electrolytes are a health essential.

The essence of electrolytes

You’re probably familiar with most or all of the electrolytes, even if you didn’t necessarily know they were electrolytes:

  • Bicarbonate
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

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Salt satisfaction

Really nice write up on this common element that we all include in our daily diets.

Tony

Focus on food safety

salt2Sodium serves a vital purpose in the human body as it helps nerves and muscles to function correctly, and it is an important compound involved in maintaining fluid balance. Most of our dietary sodium intake is provided through the consumption of sodium chloride (common or table salt). About 80 per cent of this would come from processed foods and 20 per cent from salt used at the table or in home cooking. Table salt is made up of just under 40 per cent sodium by weight, so a 6 g serving (1 teaspoon) contains about 2,400 mg of sodium (note that some of the calculations below use the more exact 39 per cent of sodium).

Apart from table salt, it has been estimated that a further ten per cent of dietary sodium intake would be provided from naturally occurring sodium or sodium-containing food additives.

So far so good, but unfortunately high intakes of sodium can increase…

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Kicking the salt habit may not be enough – AHA

Most people are aware that they need to cut down on their salt (sodium) intake. That’s a good start. However, some ‘facts of life’ prove extremely helpful in the lower sodium quest, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Spoiler alert: your table salt shaker isn’t the main culprit.

Salt

Highlights

  • Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions.
  • Salt added at home during food preparation or at the table accounted for a small fraction of dietary sodium.
  • These findings confirm earlier recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to lower dietary sodium by decreasing the amount in commercially processed foods.

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Cut salt and reduce night-time peeing

The need to pee at night (nocturia) – which affects most people over the age of 60 – is related to the amount of salt in your diet, according to new research presented at the European Society of Urology congress in London.

Most people over the age of 60 (and a substantial minority under 60) wake up one or more times during the night to go to the bathroom. This is nightime peeing, or nocturia.
Although it seems a simple problem, the lack of sleep can lead to other
problems such as stress, irritability or tiredness,  and so can have a significant negative impact on quality of life. There are several possible causes of nocturia.
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Now a group of Japanese scientists have discovered that reducing the amount of salt in
one’s diet can significantly reduce excessive peeing – both during the day and when asleep.
A group of researchers from Nagasaki University, led by Dr Matsuo Tomohiro, has studied salt intake in a group of 321 men and women who had a high salt
intake and had problems sleeping – Japanese people tend to have a higher than average salt intake. The patients were given guidance and support to reduce salt consumption. They were followed for 12 weeks, and salt consumption measured biochemically. Some 223 members of the group were able to reduce their salt intake from 10.7 gm per day to 8.0 gm/day. In this group, the average night-time frequency of urination dropped from 2.3 times/night to 1.4 times. In contrast, 98 subjects increased their average salt intake from 9.6 gm/night to 11.0gm/night, and they found that the need to urinate increased from 2.3 times/night to 2.7 times/night.
The researchers also found that daytime urination was reduced when salt in the diet was reduced. This reduction in the need to go to the bathroom atnight caused a marked improvement in the quality of life of the participants, as measured by
the standard CLSS-QoL questionnaire. Dr Tomohiro said.”
This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects the frequency of going to the bathroom, so we need to confirm the work with larger studies. Night- time urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simply dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people.”
Commenting, Dr Marcus Drake (Bristol, UK), Working Group Lead for the EAU Guidelines Office Initiative on Nocturia, said: “This is an important aspect of how patients potentially can help themselves to reduce the impact of frequent urination. Research generally focuses on reducing the amount of water a patient drinks, and the salt intake is generally not considered. Here we have a useful study showing how we need to
consider all influences to get the best chance of improving the symptom.”
Tony

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TGI Friday’s Ribs and Shrimp – Bad Bet

There is a lot of talk about fast foods and processed foods being not as healthy for us. Here is a fine example of that from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

An order of TGI Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Ribs & Shrimp with Seasoned Fries and Coleslaw has 4,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium—more than one-and-a-half times the daily sodium limit (2,300 mg a day) for healthy adults.

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A diner who eats that entrée along with half a high-sodium appetizer and half a high-sodium dessert could end up swallowing 6,450 mg, or almost three days’ worth, of sodium.  The nonprofit Center for the Science in the Public Interest is releasing the first of a series of “Salt Assaults” spotlighting the incredibly (and unnecessarily) high sodium content of many packaged and restaurant foods.

“Consumers can always add salt to their food but they can’t remove what’s already there,” said Jim O’Hara, CSPI’s director of health promotion policy.  “Food companies, especially chain restaurants, are irresponsibly increasing their customers’ risk of heart disease by selling foods that are dangerously high in sodium.  The Food and Drug Administration’s proposed voluntary sodium-reduction targets for packaged and restaurant foods, if finalized, would help put consumers back in control.”

The Ribs & Shrimp meal isn’t the only problem with TGI Fridays, according to CSPI—it’s the entire menu.  If diners choose a typical entrée, they end up with 2,240 mg of sodium.  Adding half a typical appetizer and half a typical dessert brings the total to 3,490 mg of sodium—more than one and a half days’ worth.  (CSPI’s analysis did not include TGI Friday’s 474 menu, which offers “smaller portions of our signature dishes.”)

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that many adults can consume up to 2,300 mg of sodium, but adults with prehypertension and hypertension (about two-thirds of all adults) would do well to limit their consumption to 1,500 mg per day.

Tony

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Study flawed on salt consumption dangers – AHA

The American Heart Association strongly refutes the findings of a May 20, 2016 article in The Lancet by Mente, et al, that suggest low sodium intake is related to a higher risk of heart disease and death.  On the contrary, the link between excessive sodium and high blood pressure – as well as higher risks of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease – is indisputable. Lowering sodium is more important than ever.

Consider the following:
•    One-third of Americans have high blood pressure
•    90% of all American adults will develop hypertension over their lifetime
•    Heart disease and stroke are the world’s two leading causes of death (my emphasis)

“The findings in this study are not valid, and you shouldn’t use it to inform yourself about how you’re going to eat,” said Mark A. Creager, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  “The large body of science clearly shows how excessive amounts of sodium in the American diet can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even death.” Continue reading

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The Result of Eating Too Much Salt Can be Measured in Blood Pressure

More than 75 percent of sodium in the U.S. diet is found in the salt added to processed food. In the United States, about 9 of every 10 people consume too much sodium. The Salty Six foods – breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches – are the leading sources of overall sodium in the U.S. diet.

Because of this it is really important to beware of eating processed food. Lots of folks cut down on their table salt, but that isn’t the real culprit in the sodium problem. They need to beware of the stealth sodium in the processed foods they eat.

Here are a few of the posts I have written on salt:

High Salt Diet Doubles Thread of Cardiovascular Disease in People with Diabetes

How Much Salt is Too Much Salt?

Some Sneaky Salt Statistics

Where Does All the Salt in our Diet Come From?

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

People who gradually increase the amount of salt in their diet and people who habitually eat a higher salt diet both face an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In a Japanese study of more than 4,000 people who had normal blood pressure, almost 23 percent developed high blood pressure over a three year period. Those who ate the most salt were the most likely to have high blood pressure by the end of the study. Participants who gradually increased their sodium intake also showed gradually higher blood pressure.

The researchers estimated the amount of salt an individual was consuming by analyzing the amount of sodium in the urine of people who were visiting their healthcare provider for a routine check-up, and conducted follow-up urine analysis for approximately three years.

At the conclusion of the study…

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More than half the packaged food you buy in grocery stores has too much salt – The Washington Post

The Washington Post seems to do a good job of looking out for healthy ideas for us. I think everyone needs to understand that they are getting TOO MUCH salt from the packaged foods they buy. A lot of folks cut down on table salting their food, not realizing how much they get in their processed foods.

Please check out the following to read more on salt: High-Salt Diet Doubles Threat of Cardiovascular Disease in People with Diabetes
How Much is Too Much Salt?
Some Sneaky Salt Statistics
Where Does All the Salt in Our Diet Come From?

Tony

Learn about nutrition with me!

By Lenny Bernstein April 2

More than 90 percent of us consume too much salt (guilty!), which, as you know, contributes to high blood pressure. For some reason, blood pressure varies noticeably by region of the country, so a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to determine whether there also are regional variations in the amounts of salt in the packaged foods we buy at the supermarket.

They didn’t find any. But what they did find, according to a report released Thursday, is a bit sobering: More than half of what we buy contains more than the recommended amount of salt for each serving we consume. Meat and pasta mixed dishes (I assume they’re talking about frozen meals and the like; I’m still seeking an explanation) were the top culprits, with better than 80 percent of each containing too much salt in the three…

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Sodium: How Much Is Too Much, and How Little Is Too Little?

The IOM report concluded that, while high levels of sodium intake definitely are related to risk of cardiovascular disease, there aren’t enough good data on health outcomes to determine what impact sodium intake below 2,300 mg per day has on the risk of heart disease, stroke, or other causes of death in the general US population.

To read further on sodium, check out Count Sodium as well as Calories at Fast Food Outlets, What Foods Hide High Sodium? How Much Sodium is in Protein Bar Lunches? Nutrition Myths Debunked – Myth 5 Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food.

Tony

 

Cooking with Kathy Man

Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN wrote in Today’s Dietitian …..

It’s a fact: People who consume high levels of sodium tend to have higher blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.1,2 But how much is too much? And how little is too little? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the general population limit daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg, with high risk groups striving for no more than 1,500 mg.1 The American Heart Association (AHA) supports a 1,500 mg target for everyone.3 But a 2013 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report seemed to question parts of those recommendations, and data from new, high-powered studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine are feeding the controversy. Why is there so much confusion surrounding sodium recommendations? And what should dietitians and other health professionals be advising their clients and patients to do?

Americans and Salt

The average American…

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High-Salt Diet Doubles Threat of Cardiovascular Disease in People with Diabetes

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 29.1 million Americans have some form of diabetes. This population is at risk for heart disease. Between 2003 and 2006, cardiovascular disease death rates were about 1.7 times higher among adults diagnosed with diabetes than those who were not, according to the CDC’s 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

To read further about the impact of salt on our bodies, check out: U.K. Salt Reduction Drives Down Stroke and Heart Disease Deaths, How Much is Too Much Salt? Is It Worth Cutting Salt and Boosting Potassium? Some Sneaky Salt Statistics, Where Does All the Salt in OUr Diet Come From? Count Sodium as Well as Calories at Fast Food Outlets.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

People with Type 2 diabetes who eat a diet high in salt face twice the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as those who consume less sodium, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar in the bloodstream. People develop Type 2 diabetes when their bodies become resistant to the hormone insulin, which carries sugar from the blood to cells.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 29.1 million Americans have some form of diabetes. This population is at risk for heart disease. Between 2003 and 2006, cardiovascular disease death rates were about 1.7 times higher among adults diagnosed with diabetes than those who were not, according to the CDC’s 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

“The study’s findings provide clear scientific evidence supporting low-sodium diets to reduce the rate of…

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Count Sodium as well as Calories at Fast Food Outlets

Being aware of calorie consumption is a very useful tool in getting control of your weight. However, a recent study by the New York City Health Department made some interesting findings regarding sodium, according to MedPage Today.

High salt/sodium intake is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that adults stay under 1500 mg of sodium per day, and never take in more than 2,300 mg a day.

Branding-red-and-yellow-fastfood

 

The MedPage fast food study showed:

▪    About 57% of the meals exceeded the 1,500-mg daily sodium level.

▪    Fried chicken outlets including KFC and Popeye’s were the worst offenders, with 83% of meals exceeding 1500 mg of sodium and 55% of the meals surpassing 2,300 mg of sodium.

▪    At only one of the 11 chains included in the study, Au Bon Pain, did more than 7% of meals contain less than 600 mg, the FDA’s “healthy” sodium level for meals. But even there, 46% of meals had 1,500 mg or more of sodium.

▪    Even those eating lower calorie meals were likely to exceed their daily sodium limit within a single meal.

Because of the higher sodium content in fast food fare, it would seem logical to try and refrain from adding salt to your meal.

Tony

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U.K. Salt Reduction Drives Down Stroke and Heart Disease Deaths

The British government has successfully educated individuals about reducing their sodium consumption and has aggressively encouraged companies to market less-salty foods, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported.

And according to the findings published in BMJ Open, those efforts are likely partly responsible for plummeting rates of heart attack and stroke deaths in the United Kingdom.

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It’s a shame that while the British government has actively prompted progress on the part of industry and consumers, our Food and Drug Administration dithers, waiting in vain for more than 40 years for companies to voluntarily cut salt.  It’s a strategy that has plainly failed, as Americans are still getting more than twice as much sodium as they should, mostly from processed and restaurant foods.

Almost four years ago the Institute of Medicine called on the FDA to set mandatory limits on the levels of sodium allowed in various categories of food.  Doing that would have been the single most effective (and inexpensive) thing the FDA could have done to save hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of health care dollars.  Halving Americans’ sodium intake could save 100,000 lives annually.  Because the Obama Administration hasn’t done anything, America is unnecessarily digging about 100,000 early graves every year, each to be filled with a heart attack or stroke victim.

I want to clarify that I am against government telling us we can’t have diet sodas over 16 ounces like in New York, but it seems the government can make some rules on healthy amounts of certain ingredients like salt and sugar which have proven harmful to us humans. As the CSPI release said, we are digging 100,000 early graves a year. Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burns. We have the FDA fiddling while citizens who don’t pay attention to their health are dying at a terrible rate.

Salt consumption has been a subject of numerous posts in this blog. Here are a few:

How Much is Too Much Salt?

Some Sneaky Salt Statistics

Why is Walmart Cutting Sugar, Fat and Salt in its Foods?

Where Does All the Salt in our Diets Come From?

Tony

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Filed under aging, Center for Science in the Public Interest, heart, heart disease, heart problems, salt, sodium, stroke, Weight, weight control, weight loss

How About Some Granola Without any Grains?

Let me hear that, get me near that
Crunchy Granola Suite
Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin’
Crunchy granola’s neat ( Neil Diamond )


I agree with Neil about crunchy granola being neat. It has been a part of my diet for more years than I care to remember.

I know ‘Granola Without Grains’ sounds like something left over from April Fool’s Day. But it isn’t.  That’s why I was so surprised to discover Paleo Granola by CJK Foods of Chicago, IL.

“Granola,” according to Wikipedia “is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, are sometimes added.”

So, clearly, grains are an integral part of granola.

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I must confess almost total ignorance of the Paleo diet. I just checked the web and the first thing I learned is that they don’t eat grains. They do eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthful oils, like coconut oil. Lots of good eating there. So, the fact that you don’t eat grains explains why the Paleo Granola has no grains in it.

Before going further, I need to tell you that I bought it from my local grocer who had a girl passing out samples. I tried one and was blown away by the taste. A party in my mouth! I went right back and picked up a package. I am now on my third one.

Okay, so what is in Paleo Granola?

The ingredients are Organic almonds, organic sunflower seeds, almond flour, organic cashews, organic walnuts, maple syrup, organic flax seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, vanilla, organic coconut flakes, spices and salt.

Here is the nutrition breakdown:
Serving size 2 ounces, 57 grams
Calories 295
Total fat 23 grams
Saturated fat 8 grams
No Trans fat
Sodium 16 mg
Dietary fiber 4 grams
Sugar 11 grams
Protein 7 grams

A quick comparison with a regular granola, puts Paleo slightly higher on calories, a lot higher on total fat, due to the nuts and coconut, way down on sodium and higher on fiber and protein. Not a bad tradeoff, I think.

Although I am a big granola fan and have a bowl almost every day. I have found that I like the taste of this Paleo mixture so much that I use it as a snack and sometimes take chunks of it with me for energy breaks when I ride the bike.

While I usually refrain from writing up local products that are not available to readers of an international blog, I did this one because I thought you might enjoy being exposed to the concept of granola sans grains. Also, resourceful readers might even try to make it on their own with a little experimentation. You have all the ingredients.

If anyone does try to make their own, I hope you will share your experience with the blog.

For Neil Diamond fans, here is the best audio version I could find on You Tube:

Tony

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Filed under breakfast, eating, energy, energy bars, Exercise, fresh fruit, granola, health, healthy fats, healthy living, meat, nutrition, nuts, Paleo Diet, protein, salt, saturated fat, snack foods, Snacking, Weight

What Are Some Low Calorie After Dinner Drinks?

During this holiday season, temptations come at us from all angles, at home, at work, visiting friends. It is a real challenge to simply maintain our weight, let alone lose any during these months. I have written several posts on Healthy eating tips for the holidays beginning back on October 28.

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So, it was encouraging to read WebMD’s recommendation on low calorie after dinner drinks. “While they are mostly empty calories, many alcoholic “after dinner” drinks aren’t as decadent as you may think. A standard shot (1.5 ounces) of chocolate-infused liqueur from one gourmet chocolatier is less than 100 calories. So is crème de cacao.

“Another decadently sweet treat is strawberries dipped in chocolate, which average about 40 calories each. Dip two strawberries in warm, dark chocolate instead of dipping into a molten chocolate cake and you’ll save anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories.”

As always, paying attention to portion size can keep you from going too far astray.

Enjoy the holidays!

Tony

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How Good is the Costco Energy Blend Snack?

On a recent trip to Costco, I happened upon the Energy Blend snack. As I shop there regularly and have never seen this before, I have to believe it is new to Costco. Since I ride my bike as close to daily as is possible in a four season city like Chicago, i am always on the lookout for fresh and portable sources of energy to take with me on rides.
energyblend
The Energy Blend seems to fill the bill. It has a simple composition of edamame (soybeans) , cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds. In addition there are blueberry pomegranate juice and natural strawberry flavor. These are some very good sources of nutrition on their own so the combination looks promising.

At this point, I have only had a single serving of it which comes to 1/4 cup or 30 grams – about an ounce.

I enjoyed eating it. Very nice taste and texture.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Calories 130
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0.5 grams
No trans fat
No cholesterol
Sodium 65 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 7 grams

This seems a very good nutritional breakdown to me. There is fat for energy, not too many calories, enough sodium to restore salt sweated away, a good slug of fiber and protein. I think it is worth the try.

Let me know what you think.

If you aren’t a regular reader, here are some other recommendations on Costco items:

Roasted Seaweed

Coconut oil

Fruit and Nut treats

Organic Chocolate Love Crunch

Rotisserie chicken

Sunrise energy bars

Tony

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Filed under energy, energy bars, Exercise, portion control, portion size, salt, sodium, Weight

How Much is Too Much Salt?

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine questioned the current guidellnes on salt intake saying they were too high.

The guidelines issued by the government say that adults should reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2300 mg. For those over age 51, or with a medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, salt intake should fall below 1500 mg.
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The American Heart Association puts the limit at 1500 mg per day for the entire population.

Dr. Marc Seigel, associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, said on Fox News today that he doesn’t know anyone who consumes less than 3000 mg per day and they all consume too much salt. In addition, most people get the majority of their salt from processed and restaurant food. Continue reading

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