Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Attack of the Killer Sodium

So these past 5 weeks I have been very carefully watching my caloric intake. Analyzing every calorie in and out. Yesterday morning I got up, weighed first thing as usual, and I had gained an entire pound since Monday morning! This has not happened in at least 2 weeks so I went back to my food diary to see if I could determine the cause. As I printed off my SparkPeople report for the day, a number caught my eye. Sodium. I haven't given much thought to sodium intake. I have been eating lots of protein with fresh fruits and vegetables so I didn't think I could be taking in much sodium. I couldn't believe my sodium intake in one day, Monday, was 3736 grams! I had made one change in my diet that had caused this. I ususally eat a bag of frozen broccoli florets every night with dinner, however, when I grocery shopped Saturday, my grocery store was out of it. So I got a couple of bags of broccoli with cheese sauce, the calorie differene was only 30. I did not bother to look at the sodium content. Turns out the plain bags of broccoli florets have 100g sodium per bag, the "lightly sauced" broccoli with cheese has 1110g of sodium!!! WOW!!!! No wonder I gained a pound. Case in point, always check the sodium contents before buying.....I have learned......

Known facts about sodium: (From the Mayo Clinic)

  • Aim to have between 500g - 1500g per day
  • Too much causes weight gain
  • Too much increases blood pressure
  • Too much increases risk of heart attack & stroke
  • Too little could cause muscle weakness
  • Too little could cause heat exahuastion
  • Too little could cause cramps

Best ways to cut sodium intake:

  • Eat less processed foods
  • Remove salt from recipes whenever possible
  • Limit use of condiments
  • Use herbs and other spices to flavor food

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