Saturday, February 22, 2014

Did You Notice the Sodium in that?

I have a new Fitbit, given to me by my loving wife so that I could participate in the family fitness activity. It was a great idea and I am having a lot of fun with it, although, even by playing racquetball daily I am not competing very well because I cannot wear my Fitbit while I am at work.  and therefore lose credit for 8 or more hours of activity, albeit it mild, everyday.

I have been fascinated with the whole idea of tracking steps and working to improve general health and fitness for a while now, but I hadn't taken the leap to actually acquire a tracker of my own. Some insurance companies provide money back for meeting step thresholds and doing other healthy things. Mine doesn't and the place where I work needs to improve its commitment to employee fitness, but that is a thought for another time. 

The most interesting part of my five day experience has been in tracking my food intake and understanding not only what I eat, but what is in what I eat.

Seriously. On my first day of logging my food and trying to understand what is in what I eat, I varied from my usual lunch fare of chili--and for those who know me, they know that that in and of itself was a monumental occasion. I decided to eat a healthy looking Cuban Pannini sandwich offered by the cafeteria. Mmm, it tasted good. And then I looked at the nutritional information regarding this sandwich as prepared by the company which has the food contract at work. 

Cuban Pannini sandwich:
Calories: 643
Fat: 24.1 g
Sodium: 1996 mg
Carbohydrates: 66.3 g
Protein: 39.2 g
Fiber: 0.7 g

Ugh! I got my entire daily allowance of sodium in just that sandwich! And while I thought I was getting some fiber, I would have done better having chili. And then I went and added mayonnaise to the sandwich, which skewed a few other items, but the bottom line was healthy looking is not healthy. 

Did you notice the sodium? My total sodium intake for that day was about 3400 mg.  I did much better by eating chili the next day ending up with a total sodium intake of only 2200 mg for the day. 

I've been looking at sodium in food since then and am appalled at how much is added--it is everywhere except in one of my favorite beverages! There is no sodium in wine.

I'll just have to drink more wine to offset the sodium in what I eat.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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