Everyday Food Blog

low sodium chips

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In light of all the bad news about sodium and health over the past year, it's great to see new, lower-sodium snack foods on grocery store shelves. The potato chips above have 90 milligrams of sodium per 20-chip serving (that's just 4% of your daily value) and, when I was hit by that old salty-crunchy craving, these did the trick. But there was one really surprising thing I noticed when looking at the label... The classic, salty potato chips didn't have that much sodium to begin with! A serving of regular potato chips has 180 milligrams, which may sound like a lot but is actually just 8% of the recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium (which most of us easily double each day).

Compare that 180 milligrams to the numbers in some "healthy" processed foods, and you'll be shocked at the items that are hiding way more sodium than a serving of those potato chips. At my grocery store recently I saw a marinara pasta sauce with 480 mg, a low-fat cottage cheese with 420 mg and a fat-free salad dressing with 280 milligrams!

The lesson learned, of course, is not to pour yourself a big bowl of potato chips and call it a healthy lunch, but to look beyond the salty/ not salty taste and packaging of these foods and to give those nutrition labels a long hard look.

Have you spotted any sneaky sources of sodium lately?

Comments (3)

  • avatar

    I haven't spotted any sneaky sources yet, but I was surprised to see a small portion of McDonald's fries only had 9% RDI for sodium. Who knew?

    Also, I'm currently snacking on some "hint of salt" Premium saltines and I can't tell the difference. My grocer has the NuVal system that compares foods on basis of dollar and nutrient value. These scored a 28; right next to them, the regular saltines scored a 3! I need to learn more about what this system rates, but at the same price, it looked like the reduced salt variety were the better way to go.

  • avatar

    I don't eat packaged foods very often, and I'm always horrified when I read the labels. Everything with a label seems to have too much sodium or forms of sugars, or soy, or any number of other things that we really don't want to eat.

    I was sort of surprised to see a write up on potato chips on this blog, however- yes, I am glad to see that food manufacturers are reducing corn syrups and sodium.

  • avatar

    Melinda....I'd be VERY wary of the sodium from the McD's fries from the nutritional info somewhere. Seems to me that some employees are salt happy while others hardly salt them at all. Very, very subjective and probably varies widely by store. When my 5yo son was on serious sodium restriction (due to kidney disease) I quickly realized that the only foods I could reasonably feed him were fresh meats, fresh fruits and fresh veggies. I varied the way I cooked them (grilling and smoking were great!), added lemon juice and lots of vinegars (which thankfully he likes!). I did bake my own breads without salt but would butter a piece of toast with salted butter to give it a bit of taste and add toppings like cinnamon sugar, etc. A serious challenge but once you get used to a low sodium diet, it's all you taste when you eat out.

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