Sunday, June 17, 2018

Here’s Why I Don’t Buy Unsalted Nuts

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 sodium.

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

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