Food Companies Goal to Reduce Salt

May 1st, 2010

thumb_mcain_wfpizzaSixteen food companies have come together in a New York initiative, to cut the amount of sodium in their goods.  This project is called the National Salt Reduction Initiative is designed to cut back the salt intake of the nation by 20%.

 

Companies such as Heinz, Starbucks, Kraft,McCain and others have come on board. this plan includes 62 categories of packaged foods and 25 categories of restaurant foods.  Some food items will have sodium cut backs of 25% over a five year period.  Some examples include:

  •  Heinz is reducing sodium by 15% in all ketchup in the U.S starting May 1st
  •  Kraft is working toward a 10% average sodium reduction across most of their food items, such as Oscar Mayer bacon
  •  Starbucks plans to have smaller portions and the removal of unnecessary ingredients in most items

The question lies in if these lower sodium items will be available in Canada.  The other point we all must remember is when a food company removes an ingredient that largely impacts the flavour (such as salt), a replacement must go into that food so it is still tasty for the consumer.  Will this change the fillers and preservatives that are present? Possibly.  It is really a good time to start reading the ingredient list more carefully.

In Canada, sodium is of big concern as Stats Canada estimates the average person consumes 3092 mg of sodium per day, and remember the healthy level you want is 1500 mg.  What is more alarming is where our children are sitting at.  

  • three quarters of toddlers exceed the safe upper limits of salt
  • 90% of children 4-8 years exceed the safe upper limits of salt

With 22% of adults with high blood pressure, and 42% unaware they even have it, we all need to step up to the plate and be more accountable for our health.  When we eat more sodium than the healthy level (1500 mg for adults and less for children), our kidneys have no choice but to hold on to more fluid which raises the volume of water held in our blood which puts un-needed pressure on our blood vessel walls.

In short – become the food critic and read labels and go to restaurants already equipped with their nutrition information often found on the restaurants website or other healthy websites.  My fitness pal is a site I often find hard to get information.

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