Salt is everywhere in our processed diet, even in the so-called “sweet” foods out there on the supermarket shelf, that you would never suspect actually had added salt (Yoo-hoo chocolate drink comes to mind– it hides 260 mg of sodium for one serving (not to mention 35 g of sugar–I’ll leave this for the nutrition experts to tell you how stunningly high that is, for a supposedly sweet drink no less!).
What you WILL find in my recipes are wholesome fresh ingredients. Sometimes, you will find I use canned goods when it makes the job easier–As a busy mother of 5, YES that’s important too!– but there too, either I will recommend that you specifically check in the nutrition facts panel that it contains no added salt or, if I don’t specify, my recipe will make up for the fact that it contains sodium by not adding as much or any salt to that dish.
Having said that, I love a dish that is full-flavored, and sometimes, that extra pinch of salt gives it just the right kick to enhance it! One thing I hate, and you French speakers out there will know exactly what I mean, is a dish that I call “fadasse” (pronounced fad-ass) which is a very blunt way of saying: boringly bland or tasteless! So, yes, my recipes are always cautious with their sodium content and always keeping them in check–that’s the nutrition side–but nothing “fadasse” in Cuisinicity, it just won’t pass the taste test–that’s the culinary side!
I have lots of little tricks throughout my recipes to keep in check the sodium content of my dishes and as I come across them when I feature any recipe, I will come back and revisit this little tip post and explain why I did what I did! So, you can expect this page to grow….For one, you’ll note that I never add salt to my desserts. I wrote about this in a fun post entitled “A Cookie Makeover!” I think it’s one of those things we do without thinking that is not only unnecessary but consequently leads to having to add more sugar in the recipe to compensate for the saltiness. This also has ramifications in the appetite center in our brain, that is referred to in my field of neuroscience as sensory-specific satiety, which I explain elsewhere. If you are used to that usual salt in your sweets, it will take you just a little adaptation not to miss it, but eventually, and surprisingly quickly, if you go back to those desserts that have added salt in them, you will find them too salty! REALLY!
My husband refers to this adaptation as Taste-Bud Rehab! (my husband has written about it extensively!)
The American Heart Association launched a new sodium reduction awareness campaign called “I love you, Salt, but you’re breaking my heart” urging people to sign their sodium pledge on their site. Go check it out!
Here is a very informative article my husband wrote making the case for reducing our sodium intake in adults as well as children, and yet another one here.
Take the test: Can you guess which one of these 4 items has the most sodium per 100 calories?
Salt is always used in most foods that we eat. It makes our food taste better. In fact, I am a person who loves salty food. But I know, for my age, that I should lessen my salt intake if I want to be healthy. So, little by little I am trying to avoid it.
This is a very good article. Thank you for a great information.
Note, sodium can and does come from sources other than sodium chloride, aka table salt. Other sodium salts are used to make some products function due to shelf life (even ‘natural preservatives’ like salts or acid salts) or for food safety (pathogen growth for one) or function.
Function means that a product like Yoohoo may have components that will separate over time. You make chocolate milk at home. Usually if it sits for a half hour, the chocolate syrup separates. The average consumer of YooHoo might find that to be disgusting or sue over it or won’t ‘shake well’ enough to recombine the ingredients or the product’s food safety is compromised without the sodium containing ingredients. Some of those functional ingredients are sodium salts, not necessarily table salt, sodium chloride.
Limiting intake of high sodium products is obviously better for one’s health. As a person with family history of high blood pressure, I take care in limiting my intake through awareness, reading labels and nutrition panels (including what’s the actual serving size).
Sometimes, this stuff isn’t as simple as it appears in the outside. As a now-and-then good, a YooHoo likely isn’t going to kill you, not will a high sodium item on occasion. Consistent over consumption of sodium becomes a problem.
Catherine Katz says
You can do so much better than yoo-hoo which actually contains no milk [Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whey (from Milk), Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Cocoa (Alkali Process), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium Caseinate (from Milk), Nonfat Dry Milk, Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin D3, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)].
if you want to drink a store-bought chocolate milk, I recommend Horizon Organic Chocolate milk instead.