Friday, October 10, 2014

Salt

This is crazy - the CDC just came out with a report 
that children consume way too much salt! 
Of course you always read how Americans consume way too much salt and about 30% have high blood pressure (hypertension) - but kids, too?
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
And just like adults, excess sodium can increase 
their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease!
For endurance athletes, especially runners, it may sound crazy associating salt and blood pressure. I know with all the running and sweating, I'm always afraid of hyponatremia. Plus there's tons of research showing that during endurance exercise, consuming salt along with carbohydrate can help maintain cardiovascular function, enhance carbohydrate oxidation (yeay, more energy!), reduce potential for low blood pressure, and improve performance! 
The suggested sport nutrition guidelines are: 
(Sports Medicine 2007, Vol. 37 Issue 4/5, p358 3p.)
1g carbohydrate per kg (about 2g per pound) per hour of
prolonged exercise,
and
about 450mg sodium per hour to enhance performance.
This is easy to achieve with a sports drink. The amount consumed should be based on how much a person sweats, which could be anywhere from drinking 440ml (~13oz) to drinking 1.5 L (~ 6 cups)!
But back to the kids ....
Where are they getting all this sodium from?
Top ten sources of sodium in kid's diets today: 
Pizza, 
Bread and Rolls, 
Cold Cuts/Deli Meat, 
Savory Snacks (Chips, Pretzels, Trail Mix, and Salted Nuts), 
Sandwiches, 
Cheese (esp. Cottage Cheese), 
Chicken Patties/Nuggets, 
Mixed Pasta Dishes, 
Mexican dishes, 
and Soups.
I'm sorry, but parents need to set some good examples. Simply put: Their job is to buy healthy food, and the kids job is to eat the healthy food!
Some tips to lower salt intake:

  • Make lunch. Instead of having kids buy a school lunch, make their lunch! Better yet, get involved to help schools provide lower sodium food choices.
  • Add carrot sticks, celery, or apple chunks to their lunches, in place of chips, crackers, or pretzels.
  • Give them water - not a sports drink or soda! Save the sports drinks for exercise lasting 1 hour or more.
  • Get kids involved with making meals - something as simple as peeling carrots, cucumbers, or zucchini. Kids take pride in their meals when you involve them in some way - and studies show they are more likely to eat their veggies when they get to choose which ones to buy, and when they help in preparing them too! 
  • If you go out to eat, teach the kids how to ask for the sauce and/or the salad dressing on the side. 
  • Teach kids how to read food labels. They can act like detectives, hunting down the best options. So if they like two cereals, but they see one has 235 mg sodium, and the other has 70 mg sodium, they can be proud that they eye spied the difference and will (hopefully) choose the one lower in sodium.
  • Teach kids how to use the Percent Daily Value on the Food Labels. The %DV is a quick way to compare products. If a food has 5% DV (120mg sodium) it is a low sodium food. If a food has 20% DV (480mg sodium) it is a high sodium food.

    http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm#twoparts
Doesn't get any saltier than this:
Salt Free --> 5mg sodium per serving
Very Low Sodium --> 35mg of sodium or less per serving
Low Sodium --> 140mg per of sodium per serving
Reduced Sodium --> has 25% less than the original product
Lightly Salted --> At least 50% less than the original product
No Salt Added --> no salt added during processing, but not sodium free. Check Nutrition Facts Label

Do you limit your sodium intake?
Have any helpful hints? Share them here!

Train Smart Today!
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