Thursday, April 28, 2011

AHA Reports Most People Misunderstand Diet's Link to Heart Health

Despite the abundance of information linking a healthy diet to a healthy heart, it seems that being bombarded with facts is just confusing people even further. According to a survey by the American Heart Association of 1,000 adults, many people have simply got the message wrong, especially when it comes to salt, and it shows in the stats!

You see, all you really need each day is about 1,500mg of sodium and yet, it is difficult for the majority of North Americans to even just stick to the daily recommendation of 2,400 mg. In fact, most people consume upwards of twice that recommendation, within the range of 3000-4500 mg of sodium per day!

According to the report, over 60% of adults believed that sea salt was lower in sodium than regular salt, so they could use more. While regular table salt (sodium chloride) is about half sodium and half chloride, sea salt is about 40% sodium. In reality, that difference is pretty insignificant. In addition, about half of the survey respondents believed that added salt was the main source of sodium in their diets, which is also false. The main source of sodium is packaged and processed foods; salt is a great preservative!

Since cutting back on sodium is such an important step in improving heart health, the AHA stresses that everyone "must remember to read the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list on food and beverages.” That's the only way you can truly know how much sodium you're putting in your body each day. Yes, it seems daunting and tedious and you might wish things could be simple like they used to be, but times have changed, food has changed and the food industry is ruthless when it comes to salt! Being properly informed gives you the power to take better care of your health.