Sodium: the Silent Killer

I recently reposted an article by heart transplant recipient Bob Aronson. With my impending inclusion on the transplant list, I am trying to be as careful as I can with my food and nutrition intakes. I did a little bit of research and these are some of the things I found that are either classified as “heart healthy” or “low sodium.”

salt-skullKeep in mind that you should keep your sodium intake below 2300 mg a day (2000 if you have heart troubles like me.)

So here are ten restaurants that offer one of the options mentioned above. Oh, and this is just what I found within ten miles of my zip code. Where can you eat healthy in your area?

1. Longhorn Steakhouse offers a “sodium savvy” Grilled Chicken Salad (Lunch and Dinner) that contains a mere 720 mg of sodium

2. Olive Garden offers a “Healthy Dining” option of Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Dinner Portion). Only 710 calories, 22 g of fat, 94 carbs, and a mere 1340 mg of sodium Healthy? Really?

3. Chili’s has been kind enough to offer a Caribbean Chicken Salad that has only 440 calories. Not bad, but kinda hopeless when you include the 1050 mg of sodium and the 65 carbs. Keep in mind this does not include the dressing.

4. Denny’s has got to be kidding. But there Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette is no joke. With 530 calories, you also get 21 g of fat, 1450 mg of sodium, and only 49 carbs. Did I mention that this is on the “Sodium Savvy” menu?

5. Red Lobster (my favorite place in the world to eat) gets kudos for keeping the calories down on thier “Heart Healthy” menu, but gets a good smack for the rest. Take their Grilled Peppercorn Sirloin and Shrimp (Lunch and Dinner) for example. Only 520 calories with mashed potatoes, but 20 g of fat, 28 carbs, and 1940 mg of sodium. Sigh…

6. Outback has obviously gone insane. While most of their “sodium savvy” selections are under 550 mg of sodium, I was floored by the Chicken Tortilla Soup (Bowl). While low in calories, they managed to squeeze in 1670 mg of sodium. Have you people lost your minds?

7. Hooters made me blush. I just realized that the owl’s eyes look like boobs. Oh, never mind. I was shocked to see that one order of Steamed Shrimp is only 230 calories and gloriously free of carbs. However, it shocks the senses with 1500 mg of sodium, and this is sans butter and sauce. You get to add extra for those.

8. Salad Creations was tempting us with their heart healthy choices until we actually looked at what we could get. I know we will NOT be getting the Jr. Classic Salad: Greekalicious. Not with its 1320 mg of sodium and 16 carbs. It’s a JUNIOR salad for cripe’s sake. Oh, and you don’t get any dressing in that count.

9. Boston Market has such great potential with their skinless chicken and turkey meals, but their Roasted Turkey Breast Meal (regular portion) doesn’t really do the job with its 1600 mg of sodium, 18 fat, and 42 carbs. Seriously?

10. Au bon pain has a lovely little Grilled Chicken Sandwich, once you get past the 12 g of fat, 55 carbs, and 1890 mg of sodium.

For those of you who really care about your health, but still want to eat out, there are a number of app you can download to check the nutirtional stats of what you love. My personal favorite is Grant Roberts Unified Lifestyle Restaurant Apps.

I challenge each of you reading this to find out what your favorite restaurant meals are really feeding you. Tell us here what your favorite restaurant meal is and the nutrition facts.

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4 responses to “Sodium: the Silent Killer

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  2. If you’re eating out more than occasionally, then you don’t really care about your health. Salt isn’t even close to the biggest problem:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/opinion/sunday/we-only-think-we-know-the-truth-about-salt.html

    It’s the sugars that kill you.

  3. My understanding is that while we know moderation is the key to everything, sodium does cause the majority of people to retain fluids and this is hard on the innards. Nothing is straight across the board, but I don’t think you moderate what you don’t know. I had no idea how wicked things were in most common foods until I got sick. So many of the prepared foods from the grocery store contain not only salt, but sodium preservatives to increase their shelf life. This is where people get caught in the “no moderation trap.

    By the time you finish your day and add up all the sodium, most people have well exceeded the suggested amount of sodium. Before I started counting, a typical day for me could include over 10,000 mg of sodium, and that was every day.

    And if people continue to disregard the possibilities, they will pay for it at some point down the line in one way or another. In my case, sodium wan not the cause of my heart problem, a virus was, but if I have over 2500 mgs of sodium in a day, I will retain 2-3 pounds of fluid and end up in congestive heart failure.

    Nothing will ever be definitive, but there is a lot to be said for preventative.

  4. Recent studies indicate that while regulating sodium intake can be effective in some cases, there’s no evidence to show restricting it across the board prevents heart disease, or that the currently established level applies across the board in otherwise healthy people. Yes, it’s not wise to overdo, but that applies to anything you eat. In your case, there’s certainly reason for concern, but under normal circumstances moderation is sufficient.

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