Beth Kitchin PhD RDN blogs on health and nutrition. Her blogs are fact-based and offer a common sense approach to a healthier life. She's a food lover so don't expect her to tell you what not to eat! Beth is a an Assistant Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Nutrition Sciences Department and the patient educator at UAB's Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic. She also appears weekly as a guest contributor on WBRC's morning show "Good Day Alabama".
Today I bought a container
of mixed nuts – salted. Why wouldn’t I choose unsalted? First of all: the
taste. Unsalted nuts don’t taste nearly as good as their salted brethren.
Secondly, I don’t have high blood pressure so I don’t need to worry too much
about sodium. But even if I did need to cut the sodium in my diet, salted nuts
would not be the place I’d do it. Why? Because they’re just not that high in
People assume that if
something tastes salty that it’s high in sodium. But if you take a look at the
label on the mixed nuts I bought today, you’ll notice that they only have 90
milligrams of sodium. That’s a scant 4% of the daily limitation. Why sacrifice
taste for such a small cut in sodium?
If you need to cut sodium,
read labels and go for the big offenders. Canned soups, frozen dinners, and
fast foods can all easily top out at over 700 to 800 mg or more. Some fast food
meals have well over half of your day’s limitations. When you’re reading
labels, always make sure you look at the serving size first. Let’s say you eat the
whole can of soup and there are two servings in the can. If the label says 700
mg of sodium per serving, you’re actually getting 1400 mg! While some foods
will shock you at their high sodium content, you may also be pleasantly
surprised that some of your salted favorites really aren’t that bad!
Beth Kitchin PhD RDN
Assistant Professor, Nutrition Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham