Author: Dr. Yvonne Huggins-Mclean
Deuteronomy 29: 22-23: Then your children and the generations to come and the foreigners that pass by from distant lands shall see the devastation of the land and the diseases the Lord will have sent upon it. They will see that the whole land is alkali and salt, a burned-over wasteland, unsown, without crops, without a shred of vegetation---just like Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, destroyed by the Lord in his anger. [Living Bible translation]
The book of Deuteronomy derives its name from “deuteros” meaning second and “nomos” meaning law. “Deuteronomy” means “second law,” because the book is Moses’ proclamation of GOD’s divine law to the people a second time. The book repeats the recitation of the civil and moral law. It is also a rededication of the people to GOD through the renewal of the covenant between GOD and the people of Israel. It is the repeating of the law and the people’s vows to GOD.
Moses knew that some things were so important they need to be repeated again and again. Moses also knew that sometimes it is important to just stop and look back---for re-examination, reaffirmation, for reflection, and to ensure the people were still following GOD’s law.
The average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium of salt per day, which is much too high, especially since the Dietary Guidelines For Americans recommends that Americans should limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, with less intake for those below age 14. But, according to the Dietary Guidelines:
Average intakes of sodium are high across the U.S. population…. with a range of about 2,000 to 5,000 mg per day. Only a small proportion of total sodium intake is from sodium inherent in foods or from salt added in-home cooking or at the table. Most sodium consumed in the United States comes from salt added during commercial food processing and preparation, including foods prepared at restaurants.
See, Dietary Guideline for Americans 2020-2025, https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf.
According to the Guidelines, approximately 97% of males exceed the recommended sodium limit. Males have an average intake of 4,172 mg daily. Approximately 82% of females exceed the recommended sodium limits. Females having average intakes of 3,062 mg per day. This means that only 3% of males and only 18% of females are meeting the recommended daily Guideline limits for sodium! See, Guidelines, p. 99. The numbers are concerning because according to the Guidelines approximately 45% of adults ages 18 and older are living with hypertension.
During adulthood, the prevalence of hypertension increases from about 22 percent of adults ages 18 through 39 to about 55 percent of adults ages 40 through 59. Changing this trend is important because hypertension is a preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Emphasize added. See, Dietary Guideline for Americans 2020-2025, p.102. Id.
The Guidelines state that generally sodium is found in almost all food categories across the food supply including mixed dishes such as sandwiches, burgers, and tacos; rice and pasta and grain dishes; pizza; meats, poultry, and seafood dishes and soups. Generally the more food and beverages people consume the more sodium they tend to consume. The Guidelines suggest using multiple strategies to reduce sodium intake including:
Cooking at home more often
Choosing foods and products by using the Nutrition Fact Label to select products that have less sodium, reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added; which have
Using herbs and spices instead of salt-based means to flavor foods.
In “Too Many Kids Still Eating Too Much Salt,” WebMD, reported that nearly 90% of U.S. kids consume more than the recommended amount of salt for their age. The salt intake for children depends on their age. The research found that salt intake was especially high among teens aged 14-18. Researchers found that almost half of kid’s salt intake comes from the following foods: pizza, Mexican-mixed dishes, sandwiches (including burgers), bread, cold cuts, soups, savory snacks, cheese, plain milk, and poultry.
See, “Too Many Kids Still Eating Too Much Salt,” https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20161103/many-kids-still-eating-too-much-salt.
Fast food and pizza contributed to about 16% of kid’s salt intake and school cafeterias about 10%. WebMD encourages families to feed their children a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, without added sodium or sauces.
BE A SAVVY SHOPPER:
In order to be aware that you are ingesting salt, it is important to recognize the list of ingredients on a package that includes salt or sodium-containing compounds. According to MayoClinic.com if you see a package that mentions any of the following, you are looking at a salt or sodium product:
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Sodium nitrate or nitrite
KNOW YOUR LABELS:
MayoClinic.com also suggests being aware of “sodium-related” terminology: For example here is what the following mean:
Sodium-free or salt-free—means that every serving in this product contains less than 5 mg of sodium;
Very low sodium – means every serving contains 35 mg of sodium or less;
Low sodium – means every serving contains 140 mg of sodium or less;
Reduced or Less Sodium- means every product contains at least 25% less sodium than the regular version (You should check the label to see the actual amount of sodium is in the product per serving.);
Lite or light in sodium – means the sodium content has been reduced by at least 50% from the regular version. (You should check the label to see the actual amount of sodium is in the product per serving.);
Unsalted or no salt added- means no salt is added during the processing of a food that normally contains salt. However, some foods with this label may still be high in sodium because some of the ingredients may be high in sodium
Mayo Clinic warns that some food labels with “reduced sodium” or “light in sodium” may still contain a lot of salt. So, watch out! Mayo Clinic suggests that we all try to avoid products with more than 200 mg of sodium per serving.
See, “Sodium, How to tame your salt habit,” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/sodium/art-20045479.
REMEMBER SALT IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE
The taste for salty foods is acquired. So, just as a person can learn to enjoy more salty foods they can learn to enjoy less salty foods. If you decrease your salt intake, your taste buds will adjust. After a few weeks of “no salt” or “less salt,” some foods may even start to seem “too salty.” As Mayo Clinic recommends, go low and go slow. Start by using less table salt and less salt when cooking.
See, www.MayoClinic.com. Again, if you have questions or concerns, consult your personal physician.
SOME THINGS ARE WORTH REPEATING AGAIN
All Americans should examine their salt intake and consider reducing their use of salt. In other words, we all need to monitor the salt we eat. We all need to use less salt. The matter is so important, it bears repeating: Stop eating too much salt.
Some things are worth examining again and again: Your relationship with GOD; Your prayer life; Your spiritual and physical health.
Pray. Examine yourself. And, Be Blessed