Sodium Levels in Processed Food

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There have been some huge spikes in the sodium content of some processed foods.  A 2008 study published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) shows that the average sodium content of over 500 processed and restaurant foods stayed around the same between 2005 and 2008.

On the other hand over 100 products increased sodium content by 5% or more and nearly 30 products increased by 30% or more.

Hardee’s French Fries tripled the amount of sodium in those three years; Walmart Cream Cheese almost doubled.

Sodium content in over 110 products declined in the same period.

The American Medical Association has asked the food industry to try and reduce sodium content by 50% over ten years. It is estimated that alone could saveup to 150,000 lives annually, or 1.5 million over ten years!

Only about 10% of the salt in processed foods is there naturally on average. The rest (90%) is added by the manufacturers. Most is common salt, but there is also MSG, and Sodium Nitrite.

Dump HFCS, and other Sugar from your Diet

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) seemingly takes exception to any suggestion that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in any way to blame for the increase in Child diabetes in the United States.

The CRA loves to quote the American Medical Association (AMA) as saying that HFCS doesn’t appear to contribute more to obesity to other caloric sweeteners (such as regular sugar, for example).


However, The AMA also recommends a daily limit of 32 grams of such sweeteners. The average can of soda contains 40 grams of HFCS.

So even if HFCS in itself does no more harm than other sweeteners, we can’t get away from the fact that the average American consumes far more sweeteners of all kinds than is recommended by the AMA – over 500% more. As practically all processed food products contain HFCS, it is a major contributor to obesity, and diabetes in the USA.

The best way forward is to cut out processed foods altogether. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, diary, beans and whole grains. Check anything in a carton, box, or packet though to be sure of what you are actually eating.

Cutting out processed foods, and sweeteners, including HFCS, cannot do any harm.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup, sugar and several fruit juices are all nutritionally the same, according to Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association. She says that High fructose corn syrup has the same number of calories as sugar and is handled similarly by the body.

The American Medical Association in June 2008 helped put to rest misunderstandings about this sweetener and obesity, stating that “high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners.”

That last statement though, is the rub. If you really want to eat food with less calories, and better nutritional values, then it’s recommended to cut out the empty calories that come with ALL calorific sweeteners, including both regular sugar, and HFCS.

So TGFC still thinks it’s a good idea to avoid HFCS as part of a sensible diet regimen.