Why Your Lunchtime Staple Is Spiking Your Sodium Levels


It’s lunchtime– and you know what that means.

Whether it’s Reuben on sourdough, Subway tuna melt on wheat, or grilled cheese on just about anything, that’s merely just a small sample of the many sandwiches that an astounding 49 percent of us in the U.S. eat during any given afternoon, admits a study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Even though there’s a wide range regarding just how healthy sandwiches can be, going from a nutritionally-sound vegetarian wrap filled with hummus to a burger stuffed with cheese and bacon (that’s still a sandwich, right?), this study brought to light a frightening statistic: sandwiches are responsible for one-fifth of the total sodium intake each day for American adults.

Let’s take a look at those two stats: about half of us are getting a fifth of our suggested daily salt from that noontime main course. That makes for a sad sammich.

Sari Harrar wrote the book Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally, but she isn’t at all shocked by this discovery. “Bread and rolls don’t seem particularly salty,” she admits, but considering we consume them so often, the sodium they carry can add up fast. She warns that just one slice of bread may hold up to 230 mg of sodium, while a deli turkey serving offers another whopping 900 milligrams. Add an ounce of American cheese and you’re looking at more than 1,600 milligrams of the salty stuff!

Also, people who consume sandwiches, eat as many as 300 extra calories each day and up to 600 extra milligrams of sodium daily compared with non-sandwich munchers.

Sandwiches like franks and burgers, along with sandwich components like yeast breads, cured meats, ketchup, and cheese, are some of the leading sodium suppliers in the diets of adult Americans today, offers USDA Agricultural Research Service nutritionist Cecilia Wilkinson Enns, MS, RD, who also helped write Harrar’s book.

You can keep your levels of sodium to a healthy minimum by whipping up recipes like the date-ricotta crostini and arugula salad (taken from 101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without, written by Lori Powell), lentil salad with goat cheese and basil (taken from Flat Belly Diet! Gluten-Free Cookbook, written by Prevention Magazine editors), or the onion and fig pizza (taken from The Runner’s World Cookbook, and created by Deena Kastor); all of these lunchtime options have under 350 milligrams of sodium!

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Katherine Lim

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