Top five salty condiments

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It’s easy enough to keep track of how often we use the salt shaker, but a little more challenging when we’re flavouring our food using other favorite condiments.

Sodium contributes to fluid retention, and too much sodium is one of the biggest contributors to hypertension, a condition that leads to heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and kidney disease. For this reason, Health Canada recommends salt be limited to  1,500 milligrams of sodium per day, with a tolerable upper level (UL) of 2300 mg.

It’s not easy: salt is one of the pervasive ingredients in many processed foods, and one of the biggest salt traps are condiments. We don’t often think about counting condiments in our salt intake, but if we don’t, we’re ignoring a major source of sodium.

These five condiments top the list of salt traps:

  1. Ketchup & BBQ sauce
    We know that there’s a lot of sugar in ketchup – and unlike what Ronald Reagan once said, it doesn’t count as a serving of vegetables!  But the salt factor in ketchup is also something to consider. One tablespoon of ketchup – about what you might put on your hotdog at a hockey game from one of those little packets – clocks in at 167 mg of sodium. That’s 7% of the daily recommended dose for an adult. For a child, well it’s not hard to do the math when most dietitians recommend no sodium for kids at all.
  2. Mustard
    A serving of mustard, that other street-meat condiment, has around the same amount of sodium as ketchup– 150 mg. And those fancy French Dijon mustards from France don’t change a thing. Most contain about 120 mg.
    …just in case you’re wondering, mayonnaise is no better. It also contains over 100mg per tablespoon.
  3. Hot Sauce
    One teaspoon can clock in as high as 120 mg of salt –not as “hot” as one might think. But we must admit, a little goes a long way. If you like it hot, you can always try a couple of shakes of chillies into your cooking instead.
  4. Soy Sauce
    Finally, the very condiment that is often used to replace table salt is another super-carrier: Soy sauce. Just one tablespoon has over 900 mg of sodium – that’s almost half your daily intake! Even reduced-sodium soy sauce contains over 500 mg. How about making your own peanut sauce, or squeezing a little lemon on your food?
  5. Salad dressing
    Eating a healthy salad? Good job! Now, check the sodium content of what you’ve smothered on top: Italian salad dressing contains 430 milligrams in just 2 tablespoons! You’ll likely use at least that. – Maybe try a little oil and lemon instead.

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