“Mommy and Daddy! Can you bring the pizza over today?” “We did a great job! Can we have chips?” “I love cheeseburgers! Mom, I want to have them for lunch.” “I can’t drink milk without chocolate flavor.”These are common expressions by children to parents, and it is very difficult for parents to deny them. Plus, many parents don’t even realize how these small demands can turn into big health issues for their kids. In this article, you are going to read about how packaged, and processed foods are responsible for high sodium levels, and promote bad heart health for children.
Facts about Processed Food, and excessive sodium intake
- Yes! Taking too much sodium is bad for anyone’s health, especially for a child’s heart health.
- Due to wrong eating habits, and consuming more sodium, children are falling prey to those diseases which are found in elders, like high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, and stroke.
- Many studies show that kids are getting excess sodium from processed foods. Nowadays most children are victims of processed food.
- The consumption of ultra-processed foods may cause weight gain, according to previous research.
- The high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers in these foods are not found in home cooking. That is the difference between home-cooked food and processed foods.
- The manufacturing process involves high-pressure shaping and chemical alterations.
- Sugary drinks, sauces, chips, cookies, sweetened foods, candy, industrial bread, breakfast cereals, and ready-to-eat food in the freezer section of supermarkets can be considered ultra-processed foods.
- According to FDA, Sodium also is used to improve flavor and texture in foods, and for baking and curing meat. While sodium is necessary for many reasons, today’s food supply contains too much sodium.
- As a parent, it is your responsibility to take care of their health. Develop healthy eating education in them, and save them from the addiction to processed food.”
What foods contain the most salt?
- Pancake mixes/baking mixes
- Coffee drinks/energy drinks
- Frozen foods/ ready-to-eat foods, which need a microwave or oven.
- Deli meats/sandwiches
- Packaged Soup
- Even foods that are sweet have salt!
It is common for children and adolescents, ages 2–18, to develop dietary habits that will last into adulthood. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly nine out of ten children consume more sodium than is recommended. Check more info about High Blood Pressure in Kids and Teens at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/youth.htm
Children who don’t receive treatment for high blood pressure can suffer brain, heart, or kidney damage. As a result of this damage, complications may arise, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Stroke (a loss of blood flow to the brain)
“The current recommendations state that we should not have more than 2,300 milligrams per day (1 teaspoon); however, the average intake of salt for most Americans is far above this at 3,400 milligrams per day. So, the FDA now recommends that Americans bring their salt intake down to 3,000 milligrams per day over the next 2½ years.”
-John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
“According to studies, In a survey of children and adolescents, 90% were found to have sodium levels higher than recommended. 50% of sodium intake came from pizza, Mexican dishes, energy drinks, and sandwiches — including burgers — cold cuts, soups, snacks, and cheese. It is estimated that 58% of sodium consumption comes from store-bought food, 16% from fast food/restaurants, and 10% from school cafeterias.”
What do you need to do to reduce sodium intake?
In a serving of a food, you will find the percent daily value (%DV) of each nutrient. Percent Daily Values for sodium (less than 2,300 milligrams per day) are calculated based on 100 percent of the Daily Values. Compare and choose foods with lower sodium percentages. In general:
- Low sodium is defined as 5% DV or less per serving
- A serving of sodium that contains 20% of the daily value (DV) or more is considered high
- Educate your kids about the negative impacts of consuming high sodium through packaged foods.
- Put a poster on the wall of fresh and hygienic foods.
- When you go to supermarkets, find a version of products that are low in sodium, have reduced sodium, or have no salt added.
- See on the food packets, or box, what the percentage of Sodium is written.
- Read and explain Nutrition Facts labels to your child, along with what to look for when shopping for lower-sodium foods.
- Always encourage kids to choose fresh fruits and vegetables.
- If you are looking for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits, then choose with no salt or sauce added.
- Replace or reduce the amount of salt in your recipes with alternative spices or flavors, such as garlic or onion powder, citrus juice, or salt-free seasonings.
- Cooking at home, you have to follow the basic rules of cooking with pure herbs and spices.
- Involve your kids in preparing healthy foods at home.
- Ready a low-fat or nonfat yogurt and herb dip for vegetables, and fruits.
- We all love eating out most of the time, but if you care about your family’s health, don’t make it regular.
- If you are interested in promoting your health, visit https://journals-times.com/2022/12/01/boost-your-health-during-winter-eat-fresh-and-balanced/
If you are interested to learn more about Food Ingredients, Additives & Colors, visit https://www.fda.gov/food/food-ingredients-packaging/overview-food-ingredients-additives-colors