Day 23: Sodium content in foods

26 01 2010

As I enter my fourth week of this project, I’ve come to a few conclusions:

  1. I need to eat more veggies. This is not a surprise to me. I don’t particularly like most veggies. Especially green ones. I know what you’re thinking: “You’re an adult – you should eat like one.” And you’d be correct. It’s time I start eating more veggies.
  2. I’ve cut out most junk food from my diet since I started this project. I no longer make repeated trips to the vending machine, and I’ve declined the numerous chips, cookies, candy, donuts and other items that appear in the kitchen at work.
  3. I don’t drink enough water. (I’m working on that)
  4. I still eat dinner out every night. (I’m working on fixing that too)
  5. Foods have a surprising amount of sodium.

Several years ago I was put on medication for high blood pressure. I then developed a regular exercise routine and watched my diet. I dropped 25 pounds and I’m no longer on medication for my high blood pressure. In the past two years I’ve gained back the 25 pounds and am working on losing them again. 

Current dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (or 1,500 mg per day for people with high blood pressure). The CDC states that 69 percent of U.S. adults fall into the high-risk group of those at most risk for health problems resulting from high sodium consumption: age 40 or older, African American, or those with high blood pressure. Seventy-seven percent of the sodium we eat comes from restaurant and processed foods. I’m sure my daily habit of eating dinner at local restaurants provides me with much more sodium in my diet than I’m aware of. I read recently that New York City has just launched a campaign to cut U.S. salt intake by 25 percent over the next five years.

Because of my predisposition to high blood pressure, I try to watch my sodium intake. I’ve not added salt to my food in several years and I don’t miss it. I do, however, eat processed foods and pre-packaged frozen low-calorie meals. Until I really started looking at the sodium in various foods, I never really gave much thought to the amount of sodium they have. Even the 20-ounce bottle of Diet Coke I drink at lunch everyday has 30 mg of sodium per serving. And 2.5 servings per bottle. Today I drank water.

The next step in my diet routine is going to be limiting my dining out. Not that I have anything against our local restaurants. I like many of them. Too much, and that’s my problem.

Today’s starting weight: 151

Today’s food journal:

— Chocolate, banana, peanut butter smoothie = 353 cal.

— PB&J on whole wheat = 398
— 8 honey wheat pretzel sticks = 110
— 1 fat free pudding cup = 60

— Grilled chicken sandwich = 262
— 1 cup potato salad = 358
— Iced tea = 0

Thanks for stopping by. Tomorrow maybe I’ll try out a new magic trick and actually get the number on the scale to move below 151. Stay tuned.




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