How Healthy are Packaged Grocery Foods?

  • July 15, 2015
How Healthy are Packaged Grocery Foods?

A new study is claiming that packaged grocery foods may not actually be as healthy as you think. According to the researchers, more than fifty percent of food items contained too much salt and exceeded the FDA healthy food guidelines for sodium. Too much salt is bad for the body because it can increase your chances of developing blood pressure, and high blood pressure can be a risk factor for heart disease and even stroke.

Too Much Salt

According to the FDA, foods such as bread, cheese and cold cuts only allow 480 milligrams of sodium, while meal items allow for 600mg. Linda Schieb, epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and her team analyzed grocery sales from 2009. They analyzed the data in 52 markets in three US Census divisions, indicating half the country’s population. They found that 70% of the mixed or pre-cooked food items such as pizza, soups and mixed pasta or meat dishes exceeded the FDA healthy labeling for sodium. There was some positive news, however; only ten percent of the single food items (bread, cheese, cold cuts) exceeded the healthy guidelines.

So what are the guidelines for sodium intake? According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is advised to have less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. This number, however, is not for everyone. Your age, ethnicity and health can call for a lower intake of sodium. Anyone over the age of 51, African Americans and those with high blood pressure are advised to intake 1,500mg or less.

“The majority of our sodium comes from restaurant food and processed food,” Scieb said. Connie Diekman, dietitian and director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, explains why packaged foods are higher in sodium content: “Packaged foods remain high in sodium because of its role in preservation.” Fortunately, since 2009, food makers have made an effort to decrease sodium in their products.

Salt Reducing Tips

  • Start reading the nutritional labels: Start getting in the habit of reading the nutritional labels on the foods you eat and choose the items with lower sodium. Choose the single food items such as bread, fresh meat, fish and vegetables to avoid the added salt for preservation.
  • Add fresh foods to the pre-packaged meals: Another useful tip is to add fresh food to pre-packaged meals in order to spread the sodium out and help reduce the per-person intake.
  • Eat out less: Restaurants tend to serve foods higher in sodium. Cooking at home provides you the opportunity to limit your salt intake and choose other seasonings for flavor.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.


KEYWORDS: packaged foods, sodium, unhealthy

Related Posts

Mar 9, 2020

Senior Malnutrition: How to Feed a Poor Appetite

Written With Guest Blogger and Nutritionist, Robin Amylon

Oct 30, 2019

Celebrate Autumn’s Return with Spiked Mulled Cider

Whether you’re putting together a Halloween party, prepping recipe ideas for Thanksgiving, or simply want to enjoy a…

Mar 14, 2019

Foods That Boost Kidney Function

Our kidneys are organs we typically don't think about until we experience some sort of kidney distress or…

Mar 6, 2019

How to Combat Vitamin D Deficiency This Winter

Vitamin D deficiency is an incredibly common problem for most Americans, especially seniors. Many members of the Greatest…

New to Medical Alert Devices?

Request a Buyer’s Guide.

By providing my e-mail address and my telephone number, I am providing express consent for Medical Guardian and its affiliates to contact me for non-marketing and marketing purposes using automatic telephone dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice message, text messaging, and automated email, even if my number is on a Do Not Call list. I understand that my consent is not required and is not a condition of any purchase. I also agree to be bound by Medical Guardian's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

Get My FREE Buyer’s Guide