August 1, 2020 · 12:06 am
One in three American adults has hypertension (high blood pressure). And, because hypertension causes few obvious symptoms, many people with high blood pressure don’t even know it. What’s more, only about half of all diagnosed individuals are controlling their blood pressure adequately. This condition is a primary or contributing cause in more than 1,000 deaths each day and costs the nation $48.6 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, straightforward lifestyle changes can both prevent and treat this common and devastating “silent killer.”
What is Blood Pressure? “Blood pressure is the force the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries,” says Sondra M. DePalma, DHSc, PA-C, a cardiology PA with PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute at UPMC Pinnacle and an author of the American Heart Association’s 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults. The top number (the systolic pressure) is the force exerted on the artery wall with each beat (contraction) of the heart. The bottom number (the diastolic pressure) is the force when the heart is at rest (between beats). If readings rise above 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, risks begin to rise. Treatment through lifestyle changes and/or medication is recommended if numbers rise over 130 or over 80. [For more information on blood pressure readings, see Blood Pressure by the Numbers.
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June 25, 2018 · 4:47 am
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and their colleagues using multiple measurements confirms it. The study suggests that an inaccurate way of estimating sodium intake may help account for the paradoxical findings of others.
“Sodium is notoriously hard to measure,” said Nancy Cook, ScD, a biostatistician in the Department of Medicine at BWH. “Sodium is hidden – you often don’t know how much of it you’re eating, which makes it hard to estimate how much a person has consumed from a dietary questionnaire. Sodium excretions are the best measure, but there are many ways of collecting those. In our work, we used multiple measures to get a more accurate picture.”
Sodium intake can be measured using a spot test to determine how much salt has been excreted in a person’s urine sample. However, sodium levels in urine can fluctuate throughout the day so an accurate measure of a person’s sodium intake on a given day requires a full 24-hour sample. In addition, sodium consumption may change from day to day, meaning that the best way to get a full picture of sodium intake is to take samples on multiple days.
While previous studies have used spot samples and the Kawasaki formula, the team assessed sodium intake in multiple ways, including estimates based on that formula as well as ones based on the gold-standard method, which uses the average of multiple, non-consecutive urine samples. They assessed results for participants in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, which included nearly 3,000 individuals with pre-hypertension.
The gold-standard method showed a direct linear relationship between increased sodium intake and increased risk of death. The team found that the Kawasaki formula suggested a J-shaped curve, which would imply that both low levels and high levels of sodium consumption were associated with increased mortality.
“Our findings indicate that inaccurate measurement of sodium intake could be an important contributor to the paradoxical J-shaped findings reported in some cohort studies. Epidemiological studies should not associate health outcomes with unreliable estimates of sodium intake,” the authors wrote.
March 20, 2018 · 12:28 am
We hear a lot of talk about the amount of salt and sodium in our diets and the importance of trying to keep it limited. Some folks even remove their salt shakers from the tables. However, we get most sodium from our processed foods. So, we need to turn our focus to everything we eat, not just our salt shakers. Here is a study on how much salt can be found in the seemingly innocuous bread on our tables.
- Canadian bread product saltiest in survey of global bread products
- Some breads surveyed had as much sodium (salt) as seawater
- More than a third of breads worldwide have more salt than UK maximum salt
reduction target for bread (1.5 g of salt or 600 mg of sodium /100 g)
- 73% of Canadian breads exceeded Health Canada’s 2016 targets for sodium in bread products and 21% were above recommended maximum levels.
Bread features heavily in many diets worldwide, and is one of the biggest sources of salt in diets. A new survey by World Action on Salt and Health (WASH), based at Queen Mary University of London, has revealed the shocking levels of salt present in this essential staple. WASH surveyed over 2,000 white, wholemeal, mixed grain and flat breads from 32 countries and regions, including over 500 products from Canada collected by Professor Mary L’Abbe’s lab at the University of Toronto. Continue reading →
May 23, 2017 · 5:03 am
Really nice write up on this common element that we all include in our daily diets.
Focus on food safety
Sodium 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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February 10, 2017 · 5:03 am
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.
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.
May 28, 2016 · 6:12 am
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 →
May 5, 2014 · 5:27 am
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.
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.
Filed under fast food, salt, sodium
Tagged as Au Bon Pain, calorie counting, daily sodium intake, fast food, KFC, MedPage Today, Popeye's, salt, weight, weight-loss
August 29, 2013 · 8:38 am
Mickey D’s has announced it will roll out its newest creation – “Mighty Wings” – next month. The Wings have been tested in three big markets since the beginning of the year. My town, Chicago was one of them.
The wings will come in three, five and 10 piece orders and there will be nine different sauces available. Prices start at $2.99.
Their national debut is scheduled for September 9.
Of course, many of us want to know about the nutritional content of these new creations. I checked with the Mc Donald’s website and could not find anything. This is interesting as they are already promoting the dish. However, there are figures around the web.
My Fitness Pal offered the following breakdown for a five piece serving:
Total fat 31 g
Sat fat 7 g
Sodium 1450 mg
Carbs 20 g
Fiber 2 g
Protein 30 g Continue reading →
Filed under fast food, Mc Donald's
Tagged as American Heart Association, calorie counting, daily sodium intake, fast food, fat, healthy eating, Mc Donald's, Mc Donald's Mighty Wings, mighty wings, new creations, quarter pounders, saturated fat, sodium, sodium content, weight
May 15, 2013 · 12:40 pm
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.
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 →
Filed under American Heart Association, salt, sodium
Tagged as American Heart Association, daily sodium intake, fox news, harvard medical school, Institute of Medicine, Mediterranean Diet, nyu langone, processed foods, salt, salt consumption, salt study, sodium
January 28, 2013 · 4:49 am
Make no mistake about it. We need salt (Sodium) to live. It is important for fluid balance, muscle strength and for our nerves to work. On the other hand, most of us suffer from too much of a good thing – salt. We need around 2000 milligrams a day and medical experts say that many of us should cut it to 1500. So, how do we get ourselves to consume too much salt? The answer for most of us is – unwittingly.
Much of the salt we consume is hidden in other foods, it doesn’t come from the salt shaker on our table at all.
WebMD gives a list of offenders starting with frozen dinners.
” … a five ounce turkey and gravy dinner can pack 787 mg of Sodium.”
Some ready to eat cereals are big offenders, like raisin bran, but puffed rice and puffed wheat are sodium free, says WebMD.
Raisin bran can have as much as 250 mg per cup.
One that surprised me was canned and bottled vegetable juices which seem like the essence of healthy eating. One cup of vegetable juice cocktail has 479 mg of Sodium.
Veggie drinks can be big offenders.
WebMD goes on to list canned vegetables, packaged deli meats, canned soups, marinades and flavorings, spaghetti sauce, salty peanuts, pretzels, potato chips, ketchup, sweet relish. You can read them all at the WebMD link above.
The bottom line is that you really have to read food labels. That gives you a running start on protecting your health and controlling your weight. Also, you have to pay attention to serving size. A label may give an attractive-looking number, but if there are several servings in a package, you may be consuming more salt than you planned.
Filed under calories, food labels, portion control, portion size, salt, snack foods, Snacking, sodium, Weight
Tagged as calorie counting, daily sodium intake, diet food, food labels, healthy eating, portion control, portion size, salt, sodium
January 6, 2013 · 5:26 am
Most of the salt in your diet comes from foods that might not even taste salty, like bread, meat and dairy products, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Salt is hidden in foods that you don’t expect to be salty. And the salt content of similar items can vary widely. Read nutrition and menu labels to compare sodium levels. (Sodium, which is listed on the Nutrition Facts panel, is the component of salt that raises blood pressure.)
You can read more about high blood pressure here: Some Steps for Keeping Blood Pressure in the Safety Zone, What is High Blood Pressure?.
Eating too much salt raises your blood pressure. Sadly, the salt shaker on your table is not the culprit, almost 80 percent of the salt is already in the food you buy, especially in processed and restaurant foods.
The CDC suggests small changes that can make a big difference in your salt consumption.
* Know your recommended limit for daily sodium intake. Most Americans should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
*Choose fresh fruits and vegetables and products labeled as “low sodium” or “no salt added.”
* Read the Nutrition Facts panel on the foods you buy, and choose products that are low in sodium.
*At restaurants ask for foods with low salt.
* Talk to your school, worksite, local grocer, and favorite restaurants about providing more lower- sodium options.
You can also read What Foods Hide High Sodium for more on hidden salt.
Filed under aging, arteries, blood pressure, heart problems, salt, sodium, Weight
Tagged as aging, daily sodium intake, food, fresh fruits and vegetables, health, healthy eating, nutrition facts panel, restaurants, salt, sodium, weight