So you’ve chosen to eat a healthy lunch today. Congrats! What are you eating? A Smart Ones? What’s in that? Let’s take a closer look...
Upon first glance, most folks watching their weight will see 270 calories and do a little dance because they are going to enjoy cheesy goodness for lunch. Little do they know, they are also ingesting 860 mg of sodium, or 36% of the daily recommended amount.
36% may not seem like so much because lunch is technically 1/3 of your meals for the day. But there is sodium in a lot of foods you may not even realize - and it really adds up!
Beware of a lot of frozen and packaged foods. Even if they are labeled as “health” foods, they may not be as good for you as you think!
Now, you do need some sodium in your diet to regulate normal body function – but the recommended amount of sodium per day should not exceed 2,300 mg per day (according to the CDC). Processed foods aside, there is already sodium in a lot of “normal” foods you eat.
High sodium* offenders to look out for:
Salt - 1 teaspoon has about 2,325 mg of sodium.
Soy sauce - 1 Tablespoon has about 1,000 mg of sodium.
Everything Bagel - 1 bagel has over 600 mg of sodium
Beef Jerky - 1 oz. has 590 mg of sodium
Salty Cheeses like Parmesean, Cheddar, Swiss, Feta
Salami and Other Cured meats (think lunch meat, sausage, bacon!)
Flavored Rice packets - (Rice a Roni has 960mg in just 1/3 cup)
Cottage Cheese - 1/2 C fat free has 450mg sodium
Canned Soup - 1 Cup of campbells classic chicken noodle has 870mg of sodium
Packaged Pasta Sauces - 1/2 C of Ragu has 480mg of sodium
*data taken from caloriecount.about.com
See more foods high in sodium from the USDA website.
Salt is known to increase your blood pressure which can lead to bigger issues like heart attacks and strokes. Excess sodium in your diet can also increase your body's production of insulin (which turns sugars into fat).
Why is sodium bad for weight loss?
Salt causes you to retain water, thus making you appear more bloated and actually weigh more. Think about when you eat really salty foods and you become very thirsty - that's what your body cells are doing...sucking in all that water and keeping it there until your body reaches equilibrium.
Why is there so much sodium in processed foods?
It's a preservative to keep the food from going bad. And because it makes the food taste good and keeps you coming back for more. Not to mention it's covering up the "fakeness" of the frozen meat or dried processed cheese - attempting to make you think you're eating the "real thing".
12 oz. coffee - 8 mg, 4 cal
1 c skim milk - 103mg, 91 cal
1 c raisin nut bran - 254mg, 209 cal
1 c strawberries - 2mg, 50 cal
Smart Ones ravioli - 860 mg , 270 cal
2 T hummus - 106 mg, 46 cal
1 carrot (cut into sticks) - 50mg, 31 cal
6 oz. of turkey roast - 578 mg, 292 cal
1 C brown rice - 10mg, 216 cal
1 c lettuce - 16mg, 10 cal
1 T low fat italian dressing - 150mg, 20 cal
1 c frozen mixed veg with no salt added - 64mg, 107cal
^ add a 1/2 teaspoon of table salt - 1162mg, 0cal
1346 calories - very low in calories.
3363mg of sodium - that's 46% higher than the recommended 2300mg of sodium per day.