Saturday, May 16, 2009

Are You Eating Too Much Salt?

We may be getting nearly four times the amount of salt we need
By Kate Barrett
ABC News

Today one group advocating healthy eating says that at some chain restaurants, we may be getting nearly four times the amount of salt we need in a day in one single sitting.

"If the meal was high in fat, it was high in salt. If it was low in fat, it was low in salt. Salt city at restaurants," Michael Jacobson, executive director of Center for Science in the Public Interest told ABC News.

Instead of eating those meals, some suggest steering clear of salty foods and choosing healthier alternatives when eating out, cooking at home and even opting for drive-through where portions are smaller.

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend healthy adults get a maximum daily dose of about 2,300 mg of salt. But some of the meals on CSPI's list had more than 6,000 mg. With large portion sizes, sit-down restaurants like Red Lobster, Chili's and Olive Garden can be more of a problem than fast food.

Doctors like Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, worry because too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, potentially leading to heart attack and stroke.

But salt is an inexpensive flavor enhancer that your taste buds quickly get used to and crave -- and it can be tricky to monitor how much you're consuming, Ayoob said.

Two cases in point: An otherwise healthy stir-fry can be loaded with salt and so can broth-based soups.

See: Are You Eating Too Much Salt?

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