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Eat Your Politics Use Less Salt

Eat Your Politics –USE LESS SALT
Public-health campaigns should be as tough and as effective. Too often campaigns are blunted for the benefit of the processed food industry. The nation faces a public health crisis and much of it can be prevented by changing the American diet and lifestyle.
“Four of the top 10 killers in America today are chronic diseases linked to diet: heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer. It is no coincidence that in the years national spending on health care went from 5 percent to 16 percent of national income, spending on food has fallen by a comparable amount — from 18 percent of household income to less than 10 percent. While the surfeit of cheap calories that the U.S. food system has produced since the late 1970s may have taken food prices off the political agenda, this has come at a steep cost to public health. You cannot expect to reform the health care system, much less expand coverage, without confronting the public-health catastrophe that is the modern American diet.” Michael Pollan


US medical experts warn that Americans consume too much salt, which is a harmful factor for their health. If the daily intake of salt recommended by food watchers is the equivalent of 1 quarter teaspoon, it is a known fact that most of the population consume far more than this amount of sodium chloride (salt). …..The intake of large amounts of salt has negative effects upon our health, by causing high blood pressure, which can eventually lead to heart disease, stroke or severe kidney disorders. Even if your blood pressure is normal at the present moment, do not even dare to hope that this would last forever. Unless you are extremely careful and cautious with your lifestyle, the blood pressure could increase with age and also other disturbing health problems can occur. This is why medical experts always warn that it is much better to prevent than to treat. Therefore, try cutting on the salt today and you will have an intact health tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

Industry not Lowering Sodium in Processed Foods, Despite Public Health Concerns
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been a leader in policy for healthier Americans but the food industry continues to block the way.

A Few Companies Actually Hike Salt Levels Dramatically in Some Products, Says CSPI
WASHINGTON—Health experts have been ringing alarm bells about the amount of sodium, or salt, in processed foods for years. But according to discouraging new data published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, most food companies aren’t listening. The average sodium content of 528 packaged and restaurant foods stayed essentially the same between 2005 and 2008, increasing by under one percent. But considering the food industry’s acknowledgment that sodium levels are too high, the lack of progress is disturbing, said CSPI. The medical community has long agreed that diets high in sodium are a major cause of strokes and heart attacks.
For some products, though, the spikes in sodium content are alarming: Hardee’s French fries, for instance, contain three times as much sodium as they did in 2005. Wal-Mart’s cream cheese nearly doubled in sodium. Jimmy Dean’s Regular Premium Pork Sausage, salty enough in 2005 with 280 milligrams of sodium per serving, has 60 percent more in 2008. Some 109 products increased by 5 percent or more and 29 products increased by 30 percent or more. On the other hand, sodium in 114 products declined by 5 percent or more and 18 products declined by 30 percent or more. The rest remained about the same.

Here are some general guidelines:

• 1 teaspoon per quart for soups and sauces.
• 2 teaspoons per pound for boneless raw meat.
• 1 teaspoon per 4 cups flour for dough.
• 1 teaspoon per two cups liquid for cooked cereal.
• 1 teaspoon per 3 cups water for boiled vegetables.
• 1 Tablespoon per 2 quarts water for pasta.
• 1 Tablespoon coarse or kosher salt = 2 teaspoons table salt.

Salt Intake: How Do You Compare?

The average person consumes about 6 to 18 grams of salt daily. That’s roughly one to three teaspoonfuls. Your body actually needs only about 2300 mgms. of salt a day.

Reducing the amount of sodium you consume may help you reduce or avoid high blood pressure. High blood pressure, is more likely to lead to heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

American Heart Association sodium recommendations Healthy American adults should reduce their sodium intake to no more than 2300 mgs per day. This is about 1-1/4 teaspoons of sodium chloride (salt). Many foods in their natural state contain sodium, but most sodium in our diet is added to food while it’s being commercially processed or prepared at home. That’s why you need to be aware of both natural and added sodium content when you choose foods to lower your sodium intake. When buying prepared and pre-packaged foods, read the labels.

Decreasing sodium
is one of the easier changes you can make in your diet. Once you start a low-sodium diet, you will gradually become more sensitive to the taste of salt in foods. For most people, this takes about 30 days, so it is important to stick with it. You will begin to enjoy lower salt, less processed food choices, and you will find that foods such as canned soups and packaged meats taste too salty. Use natural spices like oregano and rosemary to add flavor, but beware of seasonings with hidden sodium, such as Cajun seasoning and blackening spices.

Step away from the salt shaker!

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Katherine Graham Cracker

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