August 6, 2014
July 21, 2014
Sea salt features a coarse texture and stronger flavor compared to table salt. Sea salt is made from evaporated seawater, so sea salt contains traces of additional minerals and is natural instead of processed. Kosher salt has large crystals and contains no preservatives. Kosher salt can be derived from seawater or underground sources. Table salt has fine granules and is mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is processed with anti-caking agent to prevent clumping. Some table salts are fortified with iodine, a mineral important for thyroid hormones.
While there are textural and processing differences in sea salt, kosher salt and table salt, all of these salts share one thing in common; all are high in sodium. While none of these salts is lower in sodium, due to the size of the sea salt and kosher salt crystals, a measured teaspoon will contain less sodium compared to the fine granules in table salt. When following a low sodium diet, all salt should be limited. However, using larger textured sea salt and kosher salt may help reduce sodium by a very small amount.
Resources from DaVita.com:
June 13, 2014
Salt is composed of two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Table salt (NaCl) contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. As much as we are told to limit sodium in our diets, we all need some sodium for good health. However, the average American diet contains about three times more sodium than is healthy, which leads to high blood pressure and other health issues.
Many natural foods contain sodium organically; however, in much lower amounts than processed foods. Processed and restaurant foods are the culprits for the high levels of sodium in today’s diets. By reading food labels you can see how much sodium foods contain to make better choices. Looking for labels with “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” and “no added salt” is helpful, but always look for the nutrition label to see the actual amount of sodium. Eating natural foods and cooking these foods yourself are the best ways to control your sodium intake. For people with chronic kidney disease, the goal according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 should be to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day or the amount prescribed by their doctor. People on dialysis find it easier to control fluid intake when sodium intake is lower.
Basically, when it comes to the difference between salt and sodium, remember that consuming salt and processed foods is the ways we get sodium in our diets.
Resources from DaVita.com:
June 14, 2013
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend all people reduce sodium to 2,300 mg or less. For African Americans of any age, people who are 51 and older, or those with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, the sodium recommendation is 1,500 mg or less. Meeting these low-sodium diet guidelines would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable. Enjoying the convenience of packaged foods and prepared meals as well as the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant mean you really don’t know how much sodium is in the food you consume.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on sodium intake is to pass up using table salt. It may take some getting used to, especially if it’s been a lifelong habit to add salt to foods—sometimes even without tasting first. Read more…
July 13, 2012
Canned meats always show up on the list of high sodium foods. Products such as Spam®, Treat®, Vienna Sausage® and Potted Meat® are processed canned meat products represented on this list. Yet, it can be tempting to use canned meat products because they are inexpensive, convenient and a familiar dish to many kitchen tables.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigating why the diabetes rate is so high in American Indians, reveals a link between processed canned meat products and the rate of diabetes. Nearly half of the Native American population has diabetes by the age of 55. Higher rates of diabetes mean higher rates of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.
Researchers surveyed 2,000 Native Americans from Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota to determine potential reasons for high diabetes rates. The participants, average age 35 and without a diagnosis of diabetes, answered questions about diet, health and lifestyle factors. A five year follow-up revealed 243 of the participants had developed diabetes.
A link was discovered between intakes of processed meat. Spam® is included in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food assistance program, making it readily available to Native Americans on reservations. Among the 500 people in the original study group who ate the most canned processed meat, 85 developed diabetes. In contrast, among the 500 people who ate the least amount, 44 developed diabetes.
Amanda Fretts, the lead author and a researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine and her colleagues found that this link did not show up when looking at unprocessed meat. Unlike the nearly double rate of diabetes with processed meat consumption, with unprocessed meat such as hamburger, cuts of fresh beef or pork people were equally likely to develop diabetes regardless of how much they ate.
Processed meat products range from 480 to 820 mg sodium per serving. In addition to sodium additives, some contain potassium chloride and sodium phosphate. Definitely not a kidney-friendly product!
Some of the reasons speculated for such a higher diabetes risk include the very high sodium content of processed meat; or the fact that people who eat processed meat are heavier, with obesity leading to diabetes. Another school of thought is that chemicals in the food containers, such as Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical found in plastics and the lining of food cans, may play a role. Finding the connections is not an easy task. More research and study is needed. The best advice to kidney patients and those at risk for kidney disease: leave processed meat products on the shelf.
February 24, 2012
This week I’m stepping up to the challenge. Sodium Girl, who blogs on living salt-free and who has first hand experience dealing with kidneys, has challenged her readers to take a salty recipe and replace the high-sodium ingredients with low-sodium substitutes, creating a low-sodium dish full of flavor. I found out about the challenge a day ago, so had little time to to stew on what to create. Last night my hubby kept popping into the kitchen to check on the end result of the yummy smells and clanging pots.
I started with a couscous recipe I love from allrecipes.com. Here’s the original (and to give credit, it was created by Levedi, a cook who has shared several recipes.)
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrients (my calculations–used 1/4 tsp salt for the recipe)
243 calories, 6 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 455 mg sodium, 175 mg potassium, 116 mg phosphorus, 91 mg calcium, 2.9 g fiber.
The feta cheese, salad dressing and salt to taste–all full of flavor and sodium, were my challenges. Additional challenges–the mushy cuccumber I had planned to use, and an almost empty bag of dried cranberries, plus keep it kidney-friendly with low potassium and low phosphorus ingredients. Needless to say, my creation was a bit different from the original recipe, but ended as a pleasant culinary surprise.
Here’s my low-sodium rally recipe:
Makes 2 servings
230 calories, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 7 mg sodium, 155 mg potassium, 66 mg phosphorus, 32 mg calcium, 3.4 g fiber.
I loved participating in this challenge. Sodium Girl has not only proven you can live with and enjoy a low sodium, salt-free diet, she has also prompted a whole group to create and prove there is flavor without salt. Thank you Sodium Girl!
What’s next? March is National Nutrition Month. Find out what the DaVita Dietitians are doing to celebrate!
Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com
September 15, 2011
Do you ever find a new food or ingredient that you absolutely fall in love with and want to always have on hand? I had such an experience earlier this year when I attended a meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. Afterwords with some free time to explore, I discovered Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegars, a wonderful shop that specializes in high quality extra virgin olive oils, flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. I immediately thought how perfect for adding new and exciting flavors to a kidney diet or for anyone limiting sodium intake. Read more…
March 1, 2011
The new sodium guidelines in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are out so now the quest has begun for lower sodium kidney-friendly recipes and foods that are still high in flavor. Today’s post addresses 2 simple ways to reduce sodium—paying attention to your bread and cereal choices. Read more…
February 8, 2011
Every 5 years the USDA releases guidelines on healthy eating, Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The newest release points out that many Americans lack healthy diet and exercise habits, and it addresses people with chronic diseases, including chronic kidney disease.
The wealth of topics in the guidelines are Balancing Calories to Manage Weight, Food and Food Components to Reduce, Food and Nutrients to Increase, Building Healthy Eating Patterns, and Helping Americans Make Healthy Choices. Read more…
October 13, 2010
New foods are constantly appearing in the market. My newest favorites are on the bread isle–thin bagels and thin buns. What a great idea–wish I had thought of it. Have you ever dug out the inside of a bun or bagel to reduce the number of carbs or calories consumed? Or eaten only half the bagel instead of the whole thing? No more–add the new thin buns to your grocery list. Read more…
This site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a physician.
Please check with a physician if you need a diagnosis and/or for treatments as well as information regarding your specific condition. If you are experiencing urgent medical conditions, call 9-1-1