America’s Dangerous Salt Intake Coming from Processed Foods and Injected Meats

Articles
April 01, 2009

During 2005-2006, the estimated average intake of sodium for people in the US aged two or more years was 3,436 mg per day. High intake of salt increases the risk of heart disease and stroke which are the first and third leading causes of death in the US. While eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, resisting the urge to add salt to foods, and carefully paying attention to nutrition labels is a great place for Americans to start in reducing sodium intake, the recent studies also suggest that most people are not adding extra salt themselves. In this case, processed and packaged foods are the culprit. Foods such as cold cuts, salad dressings, cookies, soups and food mixes can often times contain high amounts of sodium. The sodium is not only used as a flavor enhancer, but doubles as a preservative. What some consumers may not be aware of is that many case-ready meats these days are prepped with saltwater injections for plumpness, tenderness, and to appear fresh for longer. These injections can sometimes mean an average serving of chicken containing more sodium than a large order of French fries or more than 25% of the daily recommended allowance. And, it is important for shoppers to know, that even if the meat they buy is labeled “natural”, it can still contain these injections. According to a study presented at the recent American Heart Association national conference held in Palm Harbor, a computer simulation using health data from Americans age 35 and older showed that reducing salt consumption by 1,000 milligrams (1 gram) daily over the next 10 years would:

ew information from The Centers for Disease Control shows that Americans are consuming risky amounts of salt. According to the study more than two out of three adults are in population groups that should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day of sodium.

During 2005-2006, the estimated average intake of sodium for people in the US aged two or more years was 3,436 mg per day. High intake of salt increases the risk of heart disease and stroke which are the first and third leading causes of death in the US.

While eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, resisting the urge to add salt to foods, and carefully paying attention to nutrition labels is a great place for Americans to start in reducing sodium intake, the recent studies also suggest that most people are not adding extra salt themselves. In this case, processed and packaged foods are the culprit. Foods such as cold cuts, salad dressings, cookies, soups and food mixes can often times contain high amounts of sodium. The sodium is not only used as a flavor enhancer, but doubles as a preservative.

What some consumers may not be aware of is that many case-ready meats these days are prepped with saltwater injections for plumpness, tenderness, and to appear fresh for longer. These injections can sometimes mean an average serving of chicken containing more sodium than a large order of French fries or more than 25% of the daily recommended allowance. And, it is important for shoppers to know, that even if the meat they buy is labeled “natural”, it can still contain these injections.

According to a study presented at the recent American Heart Association national conference held in Palm Harbor, a computer simulation using health data from Americans age 35 and older showed that reducing salt consumption by 1,000 milligrams (1 gram) daily over the next 10 years would:

•reduce by 190,000 to 310,000 the current 11 million cases of coronary heart disease;
•avert 170,000 to 270,000 of the current 8 million annual heart attacks; and
•decrease the 7 million existing annual stroke cases by 130,000 to 200,000.

Recently in the news Foster Farms' is one company that has created a new program, which involves television advertising, events, online and out-of-home components, begins April 13 and will focus on uncovering the practice of "plumping" fresh chicken with saltwater. The company's web site at www.fosterfarms.com includes recipes and tips from the company's nutritionist.