Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Daily Bread

We all know we should be very careful about eating salty foods. The recommended amount of sodium for people aged one year and over in ranges from 1000mg to 1500 mg per day. The actual amount of sodium on average that we consume in Canada is more than twice that amount. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a major factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Sodium intake has also been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severity of asthma.

In Canada, governments at the federal, provincial and territorial levels are all committed to helping Canadians to reduce sodium intake. One way to accomplish this is by developing guidelines for industry to assist in reducing sodium levels in processed foods.

A federal task force has recently delivered a plan for Canadians to cut their intake of salt to one teaspoon a day, a change that could save thousands of lives every year and some major restaurants and food companies have already made commitments to sodium reduction. Campbells, which has already made changes to many of its products, also plans to cut sodium by 25% in 24 varieties of soup, on top of previous sodium cuts.

While Burger King, Boston Pizza and McDonald's have also announced lower sodium in some menu items, many products, such as McDonald's grilled chicken classic sandwich (reduced from 1010 mg. sodium to 810 mg., still one-third of the total daily recommended amount) are still considered  to be excessively high in sodium.

Now here's the interesting part:
Most of us already know to be moderate in our consumption of fast food, processed foods and salty snacks. But do you know what food is the Number 1 source of salt in our daily diet?

Bread!!

It's not that bread itself is so salty. What makes bread products the biggest culprit is the fact that people tend to eat so much of them and the sodium in these foods adds up over the day, accounting for more than twice as much sodium as snacks like potato chips and pretzels.

So BE AWARE! If we have toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and more bread at dinner, we may be contributing to that salt overload without even realizing it.