Cutting down on your salt intake might seem like a fairly easy goal at first, until you look at the nutritional information on some of your favourite packaged foods.
Just about any pre-made food item you find in a grocery store contains sodium. So much sodium, in fact, that just one serving of some of these products is enough to put you over the daily recommended amount put forward by Health Canada. Ideally, we should only be consuming about 1,500mg per day, but most Canadians consume closer to 3,400mg (about one teaspoon of salt = 2,300mg of sodium). That’s more than double what we should be eating, which puts us all at risk for high blood pressure–a major risk factor for adverse health conditions like heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
And that’s after Health Canada led a sodium reduction strategy in 2010.
That’s why it’s not surprising that a new study, conducted by the University of Toronto and several other institutions, found that packaged foods in Canada are still way too salty. The authors actually made a list of which foods made the most progress in eliminating sodium since Health Canada’s initiative in 2010. The worst performers were also recorded.
Obviously, the best way to cut down on sodium is to prepare food yourself. But since we don’t all have time for that, here are the food items that made the best progress out of the 25,000 that were analyzed:
- Breakfast cereals
- Sausages and wieners
- Canned vegetables and legumes
- plain potato chips
- hot cereals
- imitation seafood
- canned, condensed soup
Keep in mind that these food items may still have high amounts of sodium (looking at you, potato chips). They are only being recognized for cutting back more than other food items, so always be sure to check the nutritional information on anything you buy.
Now here are the food items that scored the worst:
- Prepackaged deli meats
- Soy sauce
A whopping 82 per cent of food items didn’t change their sodium levels at all since Health Canada’s initiative in 2010. Sixteen per cent cut their levels, while 2 per cent actually saw an increase.
Needless to say, the agency’s employees have their work cut out for them.
For more information on sodium in your food, check out the video above.