Back in May of 2007, a study released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network, and published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, clearly stated that reducing salt intake would eliminate hypertension in one million Canadians. It was estimated that $430 million annually would be saved in health costs.

We know that salt is a leading cause of hypertension. In Canada, 25% of all adults or about 5 million Canadians have hypertension. If you live until 80, there is a 9 in 10 chance that you will, too. The problem is that many are unaware they are consuming too much salt. Hidden salt in processed food is just that: hidden.

It is recommended the average at-risk, middle-aged individual, or already diagnosed person with hypertension should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium. Otherwise, the average adult can have up to 2,300 mg of sodium. A teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg sodium.

However, back in 2007, a Statistics Canada survey found that adult Canadians consume on average, 3,100 milligrams a day of sodium in the foods they eat – about 35% more than the Tolerable Upper Intake level, and more than twice the amount considered adequate for health. An additional 10 to 20 percent of salt is added in cooking and at the table.

While it is true that we need sodium for regulation of fluids and blood pressure, nervous and muscular function, too much sodium can wreak havoc, resulting in increased risk of hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, and cardiac disease.

So it is not so much the salt we sprinkle as the salt that is hidden in fast food, prepared food, and as a flavor enhancer when fat is cut back.

This week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a review of salt content in meals at many fast food chains. It was a bit startling to see exactly how bad some of the salt content is in many popular chains.

For example, Red Lobster’s Admiral Feast has a total of 7,107 mg of sodium or the equivalent of more than 3 days worth of sodium for the person not at risk of hypertension. Arby’s, which had the 10th saltiest meal, still had a total of 4,476 mg of sodium in its large Beef ‘n Cheddar sandwich with Mozzarella Sticks and Marinara Sauce and a Dr. Pepper.

So what can you do? Firstly, be aware of the choices you make when shopping and at home. Read the nutritional information provided and look at the % DV or daily value.

There should also be pressure on restaurants to provide nutritional information about the salt content so you can be aware of the actual amount you are consuming.

And lest we dump all the blame on salt for increased risk of heart disease and stroke, pay attention to the fat content as well!!

Back in May of 2007, a study released by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network, and published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, clearly stated that reducing salt intake would eliminate hypertension in one million Canadians. It was estimated that $430 million annually would be saved in health costs.

We know that salt is a leading cause of hypertension. In Canada, 25% of all adults or about 5 million Canadians have hypertension. If you live until 80, there is a 9 in 10 chance that you will, too. The problem is that many are unaware they are consuming too much salt. Hidden salt in processed food is just that: hidden.

It is recommended the average at-risk, middle-aged individual, or already diagnosed person with hypertension should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium. Otherwise, the average adult can have up to 2,300 mg of sodium. A teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg sodium.

However, back in 2007, a Statistics Canada survey found that adult Canadians consume on average, 3,100 milligrams a day of sodium in the foods they eat – about 35% more than the Tolerable Upper Intake level, and more than twice the amount considered adequate for health. An additional 10 to 20 percent of salt is added in cooking and at the table.

While it is true that we need sodium for regulation of fluids and blood pressure, nervous and muscular function, too much sodium can wreak havoc, resulting in increased risk of hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, and cardiac disease.

So it is not so much the salt we sprinkle as the salt that is hidden in fast food, prepared food, and as a flavor enhancer when fat is cut back.

This week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a review of salt content in meals at many fast food chains. It was a bit startling to see exactly how bad some of the salt content is in many popular chains.

For example, Red Lobster’s Admiral Feast has a total of 7,107 mg of sodium or the equivalent of more than 3 days worth of sodium for the person not at risk of hypertension. Arby’s, which had the 10th saltiest meal, still had a total of 4,476 mg of sodium in its large Beef ‘n Cheddar sandwich with Mozzarella Sticks and Marinara Sauce and a Dr. Pepper.

So what can you do? Firstly, be aware of the choices you make when shopping and at home. Read the nutritional information provided and look at the % DV or daily value.

There should also be pressure on restaurants to provide nutritional information about the salt content so you can be aware of the actual amount you are consuming.

And lest we dump all the blame on salt for increased risk of heart disease and stroke, pay attention to the fat content as well!!

Here are a few more tips:

Choose foods from each food group that are lower in sodium
Do not add salt when cooking or eating
Read nutrition labels and check Daily Value (%DV) for sodium
Eat fewer prepackaged food and fast foods
Choose more fresh, unprocessed foods to eat or prepare, including more fruits and vegetables
Look for “salt-free”, “low in sodium” or “reduced in sodium” packaged food products
Put dressing and sauces on the side
Here are a few more tips from Sodium101.ca, a website created by the Canadian Stroke Network.

Choose foods from each food group that are lower in sodium
Do not add salt when cooking or eating
Read nutrition labels and check Daily Value (%DV) for sodium
Eat fewer prepackaged food and fast foods
Choose more fresh, unprocessed foods to eat or prepare, including more fruits and vegetables
Look for “salt-free”, “low in sodium” or “reduced in sodium” packaged food products
Put dressing and sauces on the side
Here are a few more tips from Sodium101.ca, a website created by the Canadian Stroke Network.

Categories: HEALTHY FOOD