You wouldn’t expect uncooked chicken to be a significant source of sodium, would you? But apparently it can be. And, this is before you add any seasoning to it in your own home.
Injecting raw chicken with saltwater solutions during processing is actually a widespread practice in the poultry industry. Manufacturers say it makes for tastier, juicier meat. Understandably, saltwater plumping has left many nutrition experts with a bee in their bonnet! But, just how much salt are we talking here?
A raw chicken breast can contain as little as 50 to 75mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving.
However, the “enhanced” varieties of chicken available in the US, are reported to contain well over 400mg of sodium per serving.
What really bugs me about all this is the fact that when people buy plain chicken, they think they’re getting a healthy food, that is naturally low in sodium.
What to look for on the food label
Saltwater-infused meats typically state “enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth.” But, unfortunately the label can also claim the ingredients are “all natural” if ingredients in the solution meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of natural.
The USDA defines the term natural as:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.
But, it appears some chickens are sold at grocery stores having been “enhanced,” and they’re still being called “natural.” Something’s not right here!
Obviously, chicken isn’t the only food to be aware of. You’ll also find high levels of sodium in frozen foods, canned foods, processed foods, ready meals, soups and condiments.
For example, the sodium content of canned soup could be anywhere from 400mg to 900mg per cup, and many frozen ready meals contain well over 1,000mg per meal.
Recommendations state we should be getting no more than 2,400mg of sodium per day. This is equal to roughly 6g (1 teaspoon) of table salt per day. Some people — African Americans, middle-aged and older adults, and people with high blood pressure — need less than 1,500mg of sodium per day.
How to read food labels
Salt is sodium chloride, and food labels often list both the salt and sodium content, so it can get confusing. To convert salt to sodium, divide by 2.5. To convert sodium to salt, multiply by 2.5. For example, 1g of sodium per 100g equals 2.5g of salt per 100g.
Compare food products per 100g:
- 1.25g salt or more per 100g is a lot
- 0.25g salt or less per 100g is a little
- 0.5g sodium or more per 100g is a lot
- 0.1g sodium or less per 100g is a little
What do you think of the practice of saltwater plumping? Were you aware of it before?
Via: LA Times