New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has made waves in the public health field by cracking down on public smoking, requiring the labeling of calories at fast food joints, and otherwise encouraging (or demanding) that the public adhere to basic good health guidelines. So it's not surprising that his latest effort is to curb high sodium foods nationwide, as the New York Times reports. With that news fresh in mind, we give you the 10 saltiest meals in America:
You can tell yourself that it's just one meal, a splurge after eating healthily for a while. But your splurge could be giving you four times the maximum amount of sodium recommended in one meal if you're splurging at Red Lobster, that is. The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a study today, "Heart Attack Entrées with Side Orders of Stroke," that examines the use of sodium in 17 restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, Chili's, Olive Garden, KFC and Denny's. The name of the study sums up the findings pretty well, but in case you still need convincing: Out of the 102 meals the CSPI tested, 85 had more than a day's worth of sodium (2,300 mg for most people), and five had more than four days' worth. Even the Caesar salad at Red Lobster will give you 930 mg of sodium. Here are the Top 10 entrées with their sodium amount in milligrams.
If you have high blood pressure, are African American or are middle-aged or older, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. The rest of the population should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium. Continuously eating much more than the recommended amounts will increase risk of hypertension, stroke and heart attacks. And according to the CSPI, "For some, particularly the elderly, consuming 4,000 mg or more of sodium in a single meal can present an immediate risk of heart failure or other serious problems."
A. Single. Meal.
Now, what about what you're feeding your kids? Children from the ages of 4-8 should consume no more than 1,200 mg of sodium, but they are regularly given one or two days' worth at Red Lobster, Chili's and Jack in the Box, to name a few. Here are the Top 10 children's entrées with their sodium amount in milligrams.
The CSPI mentions that the convenience and affordability of these restaurants is the draw for the elderly, as one might assume it is for all age groups. A quick fix here although it might take away from the convenience is to take a look at the restaurants' Websites and check out the nutritional information listed for their entrées. This will give you the power to make the smartest choices from the options available on their menus.
You may have also noticed that some foodie and natural health folks are gravitating toward sea salts, from grey sea salt to Himalayan crystal salt. Boosters say such salts provide beneficial minerals along with the salty taste, as well as a different flavor and mouth feel. Still, you need to watch your total intake.
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