Tag: sodium

Untangling the Facts About Instant Ramen Noodles

by in Healthy Tips, March 29, 2017

We know that instant ramen noodles — that cheap college-student staple — probably don’t qualify as a health food, but exactly how bad for us are they?

A 2014 study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that women who ate instant ramen noodles at least twice a week were at a 68 percent higher risk for metabolic syndrome – a group of conditions including elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; obesity and other factors that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. So, you know, not good.

“Instant ramen is notoriously high in sodium,” explains Michelle Dudash, RDN, Cordon Bleu-certified chef and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families, noting that some brands contain 72 percent of the daily-recommended sodium limit per package.

The packaged noodles are also made with refined grain flour, fried in palm oil, and are hardly redeemed by the teensy bit of dehydrated vegetables they contain. Consequently, Dudash puts them squarely in the “unhealthy food” category. But, she adds, “one of the leading brands of instant ramen noodles offers a 35-percent-less sodium option, so that is a move in the right direction.” Read more

Healthy Cooking Mistakes You’re Likely Making

by in Food & Nutrition Experts, March 24, 2017

Cooking more healthfully doesn’t need to be a painful task, but if you’re falling into these common traps you may be fighting an uphill battle. How many of these habits do you need to break?

 

You don’t measure high calorie ingredients

There is such thing as “too much of a good thing.” While there’s no disputing that ingredients like olive oil, nuts, avocado and nut butters offer healthy fats, inflated portions can lead to inflated waistlines. When each tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, and each cup of cooked whole grain pasta adds up to 200 calories, it’s important to measure out these ingredients to avoid a calorie overload.

 

You defrost meat on the countertop

Is it common practice for you to toss that package of frozen chicken on the countertop before you leave for work? This is a food safety nightmare waiting to happen. The drastic temperature shift from freezer to counter rolls out the red carpet for potentially harmful bacteria and foodborne illness. Instead defrost meat safely overnight in the fridge. Or if you’re in a time crunch, defrost in the microwave then cook immediately. Read more

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News & Trends, August 29, 2014

blueberries
In this week’s news: The produce aisle takes a page from the junk food playbook; breakfast proponents get a wake-up call; and new thinking on salt shakes things up.

Hey, Kids: Do Try This At Home
Parents encouraging kids to reach for fruits and vegetables may frequently find their efforts undermined by a barrage of marketing that lures young eaters toward chips, candy, sugared cereals and other less-than-healthy snacks. But some marketers and grocers, including Wal-Mart and Giant Eagle, are now ramping up the appeal of healthier snacks by deploying colorful, kid-centric junk-food-style packaging and signage in the produce aisles. The CEO of Giant Eagle told NPR that when she first heard about the kid-oriented produce-section snack stations, she thought, “This is a win-win.” Apple slice, anyone? Read more

A Bright Pickled Relish with a Low-Sodium Spin

by in Uncategorized, August 9, 2014

pickled celery relish

Let’s talk a little about low-sodium pickles. It turns out that a lot of what our taste buds (and our hot dogs) expect is not just the salty lick of the brine, but the tangy kick of the acid. Which means, with the right ingredients and strong spices, you can make a low-sodium pickle (or relish!) that meets palate approval.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News & Trends, June 27, 2014

french fries
In this week’s news: Restaurant chains phase out salt on the sly; the buzz on edible insects keeps growing; and doctors confess to being clueless about nutrition.

Sodium Levels? Nothing to See Here. 
Until recently, a meal of chicken, stuffing, cornbread and mashed potatoes at Boston Market would have contained about 2,590 mg of salt — or 290 mg more than U.S. guidelines recommend for an entire day. Today, that same dinner tallies up at 2,000. Facing increasing pressure to make products healthier, the restaurant chain has quietly cut down on salt content in many of its dishes. The food giant is far from the only one: Hamburger Helper, Oreo cookies and McDonald’s french fries are just some of the items that have been “stealth health”-ified. You read right. Consumers may know that healthier food options are a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always excited to partake. Case in point: When McDonald’s started cooking without harmful trans fats, it was flooded with complaints of the fries tasting different — and not in a good way. As a result of such episodes, many brands are trying to make changes on the sly. Nevertheless, even though General Mills went the quiet route, slowly reducing sodium in Hamburger Helper by 50 percent over a six-year period, the product’s sales have been in steady decline since the salt reduction began.

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News Update: FDA Hints at Releasing Long-Awaited Salt Guidelines

by in Food News & Trends, June 18, 2014

bowl of salt
As blood pressure and health care costs for chronic disease continue to rise, the Food and Drug Administration is preparing to issue new guidelines on sodium. Americans currently take in about 3,400 milligrams (or 1½ teaspoons) of salt each day, a number well above the 2,300 milligrams per day (or 1 teaspoon) recommended upper limit. By advising food companies and restaurants to reduce sodium level in foods, the FDA hopes to lower the incidence of high blood pressure, strokes and other medical problems.

Voluntary Cutbacks
Talks of salt reduction have been swirling since 2010. Although the new salt guidelines were originally slated for release in 2013, the FDA told the Associated Press this week that the agency will be ready to issue the guidelines “relatively soon.” The FDA’s limits on sodium are expected to be voluntary, yet many food companies and retailers are planning to or have already cut back on salt in their products. Food giant ConAgra says it has already made a 20 percent reduction, while Walmart plans on slashing sodium by 25 percent in many products by next year. Subway restaurants have also claimed a 30 percent salt reduction in the chain’s offerings.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News & Trends, April 24, 2014

salad
In this week’s news: Mondays are the new January 1; “sad desk lunch” is no way to live; and salt gets a sprinkling of controversy.

T.G.I. … Monday?
New Year’s Day is notorious for being the time for all kinds of resolutions we know we’ll break (or simply ignore). Now, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that we treat Monday like a weekly January first. Cue Twilight Zone music. When researchers looked at health-related Google queries from 2004 to 2012, they found a consistent spike on Mondays and Tuesdays, followed by a steady decline through the rest of the week — and finished off with a big plunge on Saturday. Enter the Monday Campaigns, an initiative put forth by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications. To date, they’ve been keeping the Internet abuzz with Meatless Monday, now practiced in 31 countries worldwide. But there’s more to come, say the seize-the-Monday folks. Expect to see campaigns like Monday 2000, which encourages people to balance out their daily calorie counts, and a child-friendly Kids Cook Monday.

Step. Away. From. Your. Desk.
Did you know that 65 percent of Americans eat lunch at their desks or don’t take a break? Or that people who eat at their desks tend to eat more calories and snacks than those who eat out? Probably. Or you could have guessed. But don’t let that stop you from watching the hilarious new video from James Hamblin, MD, The Atlantic’s online health editor: “Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?” The title speaks for itself, and if you like the video, check out Buzzfeed’s take. They made “the most delightful MD ever” into a gif.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News & Trends, February 5, 2014

fruit
In this week’s nutrition news: There’s no sugar-coating a new study on heart disease; scientists back every mom who has ever nagged about breakfast; and — who cares? — most people don’t believe a word of dietary advice, anyway.

Heartbreak for Sugar Lovers
A new study released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that sugar fiends may be in for more heart trouble than they realize. The study observed an association between higher sugar consumption and risk of death from heart disease. But added sugar isn’t found only in sweet foods like soda, cakes and ice cream. Researchers cautioned that savory foods like salad dressing also contain added sugars.

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Are Some Salts Healthier Than Others?

by in Healthy Tips, November 3, 2013

salt

Sodium is a necessary nutrient, but most people overdo it on salt. The daily recommendation is to limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day (less if you suffer from high blood pressure). Given our love of the kitchen staple, it’s not surprising that more and more salt choices are appearing on store shelves. Besides standbys like table salt and kosher salt, you may have come across fancier options like pink Hawaiian or fleur de sel. But no matter which salt you choose, it’s best to keep the portions in check. Here’s how several salts differ in sodium content, flavor and culinary uses.

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10 Ways to Cut Back on Salt

by in Healthy Tips, April 9, 2013

salt
A staggering study out of the University of California revealed that if Americans dramatically cut their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, up to 1.2 million deaths could be prevented over the next 10 years, deaths largely caused by heart disease or stroke. Despite the American Heart Association’s recommendation that healthy people get 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, with an upper limit of 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon), the average American eats close to 3,600 mg, largely through processed food. Reducing salt intake is important for everyone, not just the small subset of people who are salt sensitive.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Relinquish Processed Foods
Yes, we all rely on processed foods at times. But considering that one slice of wheat bread can have up to 200 mg of sodium, imagine what’s lurking in a prepared meal or side dish. Read labels and opt for lower sodium dishes whenever possible.

2. Become Condiment Savvy
Always embellish your sandwiches and salads yourself so can control the amount of salt and the amount of condiments you use. Vinegar is virtually salt-free (2 mg per 2 teaspoons) while mustard, relish, mayonnaise and ketchup can have up to 100 mg per teaspoon.

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