14 January 2013

It's Not Just Calories that Count

Like the title of the post says- it's not just calories that count when you're selecting what foods to eat.  Specifically, I am going to address how this impacts looking at nutrition labels when choosing prepackaged meals such as frozen entrees.

Healthy frozen entrees are healthier than their unhealthier counterparts, but that doesn't mean they're good for you.  Nothing replaces eating fresh, unprocessed foods that have no additives.  Most, if not all, frozen entrees have a ton of added sodium that is used as a preservative.  However, all that added sodium can have negative effects on your health.  For example, it can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure.  Adults should limit their sodium intake to between 1500-2300 mg per day, but about 90% of adults consume much more than that.

Take, for example, one of my favorites- Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Pot Stickers.  Based solely upon calorie count, the 230 in this dish seems like a great choice for a meal or a snack.  But take a look at the amount of sodium- a whopping 530 mg, between a quarter and a third of what you should be eating in an entire day!  Another Lean Cuisine entree, the Steak, Cheddar, & Mushroom Panini, has 340 calories, which seems great for a sandwich loaded with steak and cheese, but packs a whopping 640 mg of sodium.

Because most foods contain sodium (yes, even water and milk do!), this is another number that people need to become more aware of when selecting what to put into their bodies.


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