Tag Archives: sodium

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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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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What about those sports drinks?

There are a lot of seductive ads circulating these days encouraging folks who exercise to partake of them. However, I learned early on that there is a basic threshold for using sports drinks. And that is, how much are you exercising? If you are a weekend warrior and go to the health club mainly to socialize and walk on the treadmill or elliptical machine for a half hour while you watch one of the TVs or read, you likely don’t need to use a sports drink and you may be doing yourself some harm if you are.

Sports drinks contain sodium which your body needs to replenish if you have been exercising at least moderately heavily and working up a sweat. In that case, you can be using a sports drink to bring your body’s electrolytes back into balance.

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If you have been sweating a lot, getting sodium into your system is a good thing. But, if you haven’t, it isn’t necessarily.

Caitlin Howe, MS, MPH, of the American Heart Association Sodium Reduction Initiative says, “When it comes to winter physical activity, some people feel the need to consume energy and sports drinks during an afternoon walking in the cold air or skating on the lake. Sports drinks were initially designed for elite athletes, so most people can enjoy a winter workout without needing to replenish electrolytes or energy stores. Continue reading

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Many U.S. Consumers Cutting Back on Sugar Consumption – NPD Group

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released every five years, were issued last month and one of the new guidelines’ strongest recommendation is something that consumers have already caught on to — limiting sugar intake, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Overall, U.S. consumers have indicated that sugar is the number one item they try to avoid in their diet and are eating less sugary foods and beverages, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research.

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The new dietary guidelines recommend that only 10 percent of daily calories come from added sugars. Although this may sound like a lofty goal, consumers have cut down on foods and beverages with high sugar content, like carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and juice, ice cream and frozen treats, and other sweet snacks. Consumption of sugar-free, unsweetened, or reduced sugar products, which is highest among young children and adults 55 and older, follows the trend in concern about sugar overall. Calories were once the top item consumers looked for on nutrition facts labels, but now it is sugar.

Cholesterol, the outcast of past dietary guidelines, is no longer a dietary concern according to the new guidelines.  NPD’s food consumption research shows that consumers are in line with this since their concern for cholesterol content has continued to decline since 2006. Eggs, which bore the brunt of the anti-cholesterol push, are back in vogue and consumption is up as consumers look for more sources of protein.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a perennial federal dietary standard and is still front-and-center in the new guidelines. There is good and bad news in regards to this standard. The good news is: consumers are eating more fruits and fruit is among the top growing better-for-you snacks. The bad news is: vegetables are still fighting to find their way into Americans’ hearts and stomachs.

“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”

For the record here are the key recommendations from the 2015 Guidelines:
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
•    Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
•    If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Remember, to live healthy, you need to employ two tools: eat intelligently and exercise regularly. You can’t have one without the other.

Tony

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New York City Board of Health Requires Sodium Warnings on Saltiest Restaurant Items

New York city is at it again. This time requiring sodium warnings on the saltiest restaurant items. I have very mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, I want to eat healthy and have other folks do the same, therefore I limit my sodium intake. However, I do not think it is the government’s place to barge into people’s eating habits – even when they are harmful. I think we should be free to choose what we want even if it is not the most nutritious choice.

The Dairy Queen was one of the firms mentioned.

The Dairy Queen was one of the firms mentioned.

For the record: the American Heart Association recommends we limit our sodium consumption to 1500 mg per day.

Following are examples from the

Calories     Sodium (mg)

Jersey Mike’s Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steak         1,740         7,795

Applebee’s Chicken Fajitas Rollup                           1,090        3,600

Applebee’s4 Cheese Mac & Cheese (with extras)     1,830       4,290

Burger King’s BK Ultimate Brkfst Platter                   1,420       3,020

Chili’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad                     1,040       3,470

Dairy Queen’s 4 Pce Chicken Strip Basket                1,000       2,530

Friendly’s Grilled Chkn Caesar Salad                          880         2,770

Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy Entree                             1,450       3,830

For more details and restaurants and to read the entire Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) press release click here.
Tony

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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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7 Myths on Sodium Consumption Busted – American Heart Association

The American Heart Association recommends we limit our sodium consumption to 1500 mg per day, but that doesn’t mean we have to eliminate salt from our diet. We just need to pay attention to how much we are consuming.

I thought there were some particularly useful ideas in this, particularly that 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods.

ginormous

Tony

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What Are Six Sodium-boosting Popular Foods? – Infographic

The American Heart Association (AHA) says we keep our sodium intake below 1500 mg per day. If we eat a lot of these foods that is going to be a tough task.

Processed foods are big offenders in the sodium realm.

The AHA says:

Here are the approximate amounts of sodium, in milligrams, in a given amount of table salt:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium

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6 Super Facts About Bananas – Infographics

I think they taste great and are utterly simple to eat, but isn’t it nice to know that there are wonderfully healthy aspects to eating bananas, too?

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Tony

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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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Are There Health Risks in Hot Yoga?

I got into yoga some years ago when I dated a woman who taught it. We went out for about two years and did yoga at least once a day. After we split up I still did yoga daily for several years.This was all before the current yoga craze. My experience of yoga was totally positive. I achieved excellent physical balance and learned through breath control to deal with stress. I can’t give you a good reason for stopping outside of mental and physical inertia.

I did not do hot yoga, nor even hear of it in that time. If you aren’t aware of it, hot yoga is done in a temperature of 105  Fahrenheit with humidity around 40 percent.

Those are hot conditions to do anything.

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Consumer Reports recently reported on woman who complained that it left her light-headed, fatigued and weak. “I was completely exhausted, just depleted,” Julianne Pepe said of her reactions after practicing hot yoga.

These sound suspiciously like the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stoke.

As a cyclist in all four seasons, I am very aware of these symptoms. Please check out my page – What to Do About Extreme Heat for more on the dangers of extreme heat.

I haven’t heard a lot of reports like this from folks doing hot yoga. I know there are good aspects of the heat, too. Studio owner, Rich Pike, told Consumer Reports, “Heat allows you to bend safely and be more flexible. What the sweating does is it eliminates toxins through your sweat.”

It is true that sweating releases toxins from the body. But, keep in mind sweat contains other chemicals including salt and potassium which are vital electrolytes. Doing an extended hot yoga session and getting dehydrated can be dangerous to your health.

As in all situations, you need to listen to what your body is telling you. If you are benefitting from the practice, you won’t be getting mixed signals like confusion, light-headedness, etc.

Tony

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National Homemade Soup Day – Today!

And now for something new and completely different. Monty Python

Actually, National Homemade Soup Day is new to me. I don’t know about you. I couldn’t find the origin of it. So, if you would like to enlighten me, feel free.

Writing this from Chicago where the outside temp is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it certainly seems an appropriate holiday for the date.

To celebrate the day, I wanted to offer six of recipes for homemade soups that I have written about before. In view of the fact that many canned soups on grocers’ shelves are loaded with sodium, making your own soup can be a healthy plan. Most of these are Mr. Lazy Cook creations, so you know they will not take a lot of time and effort to make. They also aren’t high in calories or sodium.

An Opportunistic Chicken Rice Soup from Mr. Lazy Cook

How to Make the World’s Thinnest Soup From Scratch

chicken-noodle-soup

Vita-Mix Cold Green Soup

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes Mushroom, Broccoli Barley Soup

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes Lentil Soup

Vita Mix – Hot Chicken Soup

Please feel free to forward your own recipe suggestions to celebrate National Homemade Soup Day.

Buon Appetito

Tony

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