Sodium Levels in Processed Food


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.

Processed Food Facts

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In the United States, 90% of the nation’s food budget is spent on processed food. A recent government report says that over 40% of the food products found in the average supermarket contains trans fats, and there is no safe recommended limit for trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oil.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates that banning trans fats from all foods would save at least 30,000 lives each year in the US alone.

Again, you need to become a keen label reader. The more ingredients on a label that you don’t recognize, the more chance is that it’s some chemical junk. If in doubt, look it up, and check what effects it might have. Isn’t a few minutes taken now, better than losing years later due to illness, that could have been avoided?

TV Junk Food

BY the time the average American child has reached the age of 18, they’ve watched between 10,000 and 15,000 hours of television, and seen up to 200,000 commercials, according to research done for the Children’s Television Act, passed by the US Congress in 1990.

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Also, a recent study undertaken by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for that almost 80% of foods that are advertised on the Viacom network of stations are too high is fat, salt and sugars.

At the same time over 25% of American children are overweight or obsese, and this is leading to health problems, both as children, and later in adult life.

The Advertising Coalition reports that $10-$15 billion is spent annually on kids’ food advertising.

Researchers found that for each additional hour of television viewed per day, daily servings of fruits and vegetables decreased among adolescents possibly due to television advertising (Boynton-Jarret, R, 2003)

So, it could be in your child’s interest, and also your own, to watch out for some of those many junk food commercials on the TV.

Next time you sit down to look, see how many food commercials promote healthy eating of unprocessed natural foods, and how many fall into the category of junk.