I Feel Like I’ve Been A Salted!

by admin on April 1, 2011

Trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet is hard enough without stores messing with your mind. But that’s what it feels like whenever I go shopping for something as simple as a can of tomatoes.

I was in Whole Foods recently, buying ingredients for dinner. Ordinarily I’d go for natural ingredients but this recipe called for a can of crushed tomatoes, so I started looking for one that was low in sodium. First you have to find the nutrition label on the back, then you have to whip out the calculator because nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems and certainly never as simple as it should be.

A recipe for disaster

The first can I picked up said that each portion in the can contained 7 percent of the daily recommended intake of sodium. Then I looked at the top of the label and saw there were 11 portions in the can. Eleven portions, really? So if I used the whole can in the dish that would be 77% of the daily recommended amount of sodium in it.

The second can had only 6 percent of the daily recommended amount of sodium, but there were 12 servings in the can. Same size can, different number of servings in the can. At least according to Whole Foods. And they should know. It was one of their in-house 365 store brand products.

Salt of the earth

So I looked at other cans. Same story. Different kinds of tomato (crushed, diced, peeled, whole) in the same size can all had different numbers of servings per can. The greater the number of servings, the higher the amount of sodium.

It’s almost as if they were trying to trick consumers. Hard to imagine I know. Yet, it felt as if they were trying to make people feel they were buying a product that was lower in sodium than it actually was.

Because I wasn’t in a hurry, and was just buying for two, I had time to check the labels. But imagine a busy mum or dad, racing around the store, trying to get all the groceries needed for the week while keeping their kids hands off the candy or out of lord knows what else. Odds are they won’t have the time to read all the labels. End result they feed their family a product that has way more sodium than they need, and way more than is good for them.

Sodium tedium

This is not some minor issue either. A high-sodium diet is one of the leading contributors to high blood pressure and can put you at greatly increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the stores treated you with a degree more respect and labeled their products with a degree of consistency, so that from week to week and product to product you had a better sense of just exactly what it is you are buying.

Well, it would be nice, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

That’s one more reason why I tend to shop around the outsides of the aisles, where all the fresh produce is, and skip the interior. Because clearly that’s where they do their best to hide what it is you are really buying.

 

 

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