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Help with Sodium, Please!

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Old 03-23-2010, 05:25 PM   #1
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Default Help with Sodium, Please!

So, I'm totally clueless when it comes to sodium. I rarely add salt to my food, but I don't know which foods already have a lot of sodium in them. Last week I went to Olive Garden Tue night and had pasta with some kind of alfredo sauce, bread, the works ( I know, I know. Tsk tsk) and the next day I felt so huge and bloated all day and was up 3.5 lbs! I have to weigh here in about an hour and I'm really hoping I'm back down. Anyway, was it the pasta? The cheese sauce? I just don't know what foods are naturally high in sodium. I mean of course I know most junk food is (chips, pizza, etc), but I don't know about other stuff. Are there certain foods I should stay away from, especially right before weigh-in? I of course am aware that the Olive Garden indulgence was way off-plan, never mind the sodium, but it just got me thinking about sodium. And when I'm reading nutrition labels, I have no idea what number delegates high sodium content. Help please!! Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:30 PM   #2
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My guideline for sodium intake is roughly 1800 mg/day. I find that when it is something that I cook or comes in a peel, bunch, etc it is mostly low sodium. Nearly all packaged/processed foods (except low sodium, and even some of those) and restaurant foods are imho just through the roof sodium-wise.

Hope that helps a little -
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:37 PM   #3
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Cheese has lots of salt. Just about anything in a restaurant is going to have more salt. If you Google high sodium foods you may be able to find a list.

But really, the problem isn't sodium. That just gives you water retention. The problem is fat retention...

Be sure you drink plenty of fluids--that can help flush the salt out.

Jay
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:45 PM   #4
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Here's Olive Garden's nutritional information from their website:

olivegarden.com/menus/garden_fare/nutrition_information.asp
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndog View Post
Here's Olive Garden's nutritional information from their website:

olivegarden.com/menus/garden_fare/nutrition_information.asp
Was just going to post a link.

Cheese tends to have a lot of sodium, as do sauces, some breads, some salad dressings, etc. Sometimes salt is also added during the food preparation process or to taste - people do this at home and I imagine chefs definitely do it in restaurants too.

Give it a couple of days and keep chugging that water. I hope you'll see the lbs drop back down quickly .
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:42 PM   #6
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There's a show on the food network about restaurant chef secrets. I watched an episode about marinara sauce. She salted EVERYTHING multiple times. MULTIPLE times. She salted the meatballs the three times, the pasta a couple times, the marinara sauce a few times, and she took glee in doing so.

I'm very weary of restaurants after that. And I now ask for broccoli unseasoned because I've noticed even broccoli is salted at restaurants!
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
Cheese has lots of salt. Just about anything in a restaurant is going to have more salt. If you Google high sodium foods you may be able to find a list.

But really, the problem isn't sodium. That just gives you water retention. The problem is fat retention...

Be sure you drink plenty of fluids--that can help flush the salt out.

Jay
Well yes, of course fat. But I don't think the weight would have set in by the next day from that one indulgence. I was puffy all over, my cousin said even my face looked puffy. I've been trying to drink more water since then, but some days it's hard! Thanks for all the advice guys.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:34 AM   #8
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Eating out is not a good idea. Everything is FULL of sodium. We use to eat out all of the time. Not anymore! You do not know what is in the food. We make everything at home. It is the only way to go. I know you were bloated the next day from sodium. Drink lots of water, it will come off. Sometimes it takes days or even a week. I know from experience. You shouldn't consume more than 2400 mg of sodium a day. I am sure that meal was past that amount. Just learn from it and move on. Check labels for sodium counts and serving size.

Here are some things that have a lot of sodium:

Lunch meat/processed meat (sausage, bacon, ham, hot dogs, salami etc)
Canned veggies/juice
Soups (canned, dehydrated or packet)
Sauces
Condiments
Canned broth
Canned tomatoes/sauce
Ketchup
Soysauce
Biscuits
Bread
Cereal
Butter/margarine
Mayo

When making selections look for unsalted or reduced sodium. I use all fresh ingredients. Mrs dash is a great substitute for salt. They have a great spicy one, tastes great with chicken. I also use spices, herbs, lemon and garlic to add flavor to my food.

Good luck!
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:47 AM   #9
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Watch out for spice blends, though. Unless they specifically say "no salt" or something similar, they may have it. When I had to start cutting back on sodium, I went through my spice cupboard and was shocked... chili powder, lemon pepper, and my favorite curry powder all had salt as a top ingredient.

I knew about hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon meats. But tomato sauces and salsa got me at first. I was shocked at how much sodium was in the salsa we buy. And since salsa tends to be a spur-of-the-moment thing, not a planned thing, I don't usually make salsa fresca myself.

And soups! Man, I am amazed at how sensitive I've become to salt now that I've cut back on it. I forgot my lunch one day and bought a sandwich and some lentil soup... and almost couldn't finish the soup! That night I made some of my own, and took that to lunch for the next week. Processed foods are the worst.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:28 AM   #10
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Yes, salsa, bottled spaghetti sauce/alfredo sauce. You have to check everything!! We are very cautious with everything, looking back how we use to eat, I cringe thinking about how much sodium was in it. Disgusting!! Everything now is homemade.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:39 AM   #11
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When I've consumed a lot of sodium, drinking green tea the next or so in place of water seems to help flush too.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Well yes, of course fat. But I don't think the weight would have set in by the next day from that one indulgence.
No no, I didn't mean that you were "retaining fat" from one meal. I meant that short-term weight gain is more often a matter of water retention. But we don't really care about water weight--we care about fat weight. Put another way, I'm trying to say worry more about the amount of calories you consume, not the amount of salt, unless you have high blood pressure.

Jay
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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Sodium is by far the least of my concerns in my diet, these days. I just try to make sure it's in balance with potassium--which is fairly easy to do by eating a lot of veggies and fruits. My blood pressure feels like it's borderline low now, and tested that way at my last doctor's visit, so I don't really try to limit sodium in my diet.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #14
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Default Sodium doesn't always taste salty...

A lot of foods are high in sodium but don't taste salty. For instance, Ice Cream is high in sodium, as is candy, pancake mix, Starbucks latte and frappuccinos, donuts, cookies, cakes...etc.

One thing the above foods have in common is that they are processed. If you make your own coffee at home, or cakes, cookies, donuts even...while not stuff you should probably eat a lot of homemade or otherwise , while on a healthy food plan, you can control the amount of sodium that goes into the foods.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:11 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the info guys! I can always count on finding answers here, whether from just someone's general knowledge or better yet, experience!!
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