January 17, 2012

Check labels to cut salt

When trying to pinpoint the excess sodium in your diet, don't trust your taste buds. Check the food label.

One teaspoon of salt may sound like a lot or a little depending on your eating habits. That is the maximum amount recommended for the average person, according to the National Institute of Health, and equals 100 percent of your daily value on a food label.

Most Americans eat almost double that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though sodium is an important mineral, most people are eating far more than recommended, and for some, it is detrimental to their health.

Sodium is an essential mineral found in nature that is important to our body's natural systems, but in excess can cause high blood pressure in some. Table salt is sodium chloride, but there are other forms of sodium in our foods, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG). I will use salt to refer to sodium in a general sense, as it is a term that is more common.

Most of the salt in the American diet comes from processed foods.

It occurs naturally in many foods in small quantities, and adding salt while cooking or at the table can certainly impact your daily consumption. But if you are trying to reduce your sodium intake, check the processed foods you are eating. Some are loaded with sodium but do not taste that salty. When salt is mixed in (like in a soup or sauce) you can taste it, but not as strongly as you would when it is covering the outside of a chip or pretzel.

By comparing labels, you can see that often the soup or sauce has much more salt per serving than the salty-tasting chip or pretzel.

To accurately assess how much salt is in your food choices, use the nutrition facts label. Keep in mind that your portion may or may not reflect the serving listed and this will impact the amount of sodium you are consuming. If a serving size is 1 cup but you are having a 2-cup portion, multiply the amount of sodium by two.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time