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Thread: Salt

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Salt

    I remember way back maybe 10 years ago I read The Omnivore's Dilemma and on the basis of what I read, I gave up high fructose corn syrup for Lent. It was impossible to find anything in the supermarket without HFCS in it, and my eyes were opened to the fact that the food industry can overwhelm our food choices with things that might not be good for us. (HFCS is controversial in that some people say it's just another sugar, and others blame it for all kinds of things. I'm on the side of the jury is still out, but I am very skeptical that it has any redeeming factors.)

    So, today, I read in MedPage Today this article about salt:

    Sodium is present in almost all food categories. The major food sources of sodium in the U.S. diet include: mixed dishes such as sandwiches, burgers, and tacos; rice, pasta, and grain dishes; pizza; meat, poultry, and seafood dishes; and soups. The majority of sodium (71%) comes from salt added during commercial food processing and preparation, including foods prepared at restaurants. About 14% of sodium is a normal constituent of foods, while 6% is added in home food preparation and 5% comes from the salt shaker.

    Since DH has been on a very low sodium restriction by his doctor, I've been made very aware, similarly to my experience with HFCS, of just how much salt is in everything on the supermarket shelves. DH and I were meandering around Vermont roads on Sunday and at dinnertime we decided to just stop by a supermarket and pick up a "grab 'n go" dish. Now that I'm in the habit of looking at sodium content, I turned every choice over and was horrified at how much salt is in those dishes!

    I think both of my experiences with attempts to limit certain ingredients in processed foods has shone a light on the complex triangle of food, health, and culture. There are so many factors intertwining it all: the ready-made convenience for "grab and go" lifestyle of working families; the promotion and advertising of foods made absolutely irresistible by virtue of their marketing and value propositions; the blame-shifting of the obesity epidemic to the victims; the collusion between the food industry and the government. It goes on and on.. a tangled web we weave!

    We all have choices--we can stay home and grow our own potatoes and hold the salt. But this is not the culture that we have created. We have to be counterculturists to evade the inevitable sabotage of our health by the food industry.

    I was watching the Showtime series Billions, and one part has the main villain character, Axe, buying up controlling shares in a snack cake company he used to love as a kid, but he learns that the company over time has cut corners on ingredients in favor of profit. As he is in the process of a takeover in the board room, he insists the company reinstate the original recipe, to which the board chairman says, "Do you know how much that will cost the shareholders?"

    I'm not pushing any big agenda. I'm simply saying, we really need to be vigilant and honest about the culture and evaluate our own choices without blinders on. The food industry is a system of "hidden persuaders" as Vance Packard called advertisers back in the 50s.

    Just kind of a rant, and preaching to the choir, because simple livers by and large shun expensive processed crap. But it's interesting that this article indicates that the FDA may be trying to help those of us who just want to buy decent food.
    Last edited by catherine; 11-16-21 at 5:56pm. Reason: to change "with HCFS" to "withOUT HCFS" big difference.
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Speaking of HFCS, I was puzzled last week at the grocery store about the following:

    I buy inexpensive canned spaghetti sauce, usually the store brand. The store brand had three different “flavors. “ two of the flavors contained high fructose corn syrup. One of them did not.

    I found it so strange that a product line is made differently, distinguished with HFCS.

    Years ago on this forum apathetic no more said and I still remember “why does spaghetti sauce have to have sugar in it? “And that led me to start thinking about the types of spaghetti sauce I buy. I’m not looking for any sweetener in my spaghetti sauce.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    You don’t have to grow your own potatoes, you can buy them. Fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables, dairy and eggs. Occasional meats that are unprocessed.ThatShould form the basis of our diet.


    Cheese which I love has all kinds of salt

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    You're right--that's why nutritionists always say "shop the perimeter." The problem is people don't.

    Cheese: I just looked up my favorite everyday cheese, which of course is Vermont made: https://www.cabotcheese.coop/product...heddar-cheese/
    9% DRV salt. The dishes I looked at on Sunday were 64% DRV--and they looked pretty safe: packaged meatloaf, potatoes and veggies for instance.

    Re the sugar in spaghetti, I believe that many homemade spaghetti sauce recipes call for some sugar to cut bitterness of the tomato paste, but if any of y'all are Italian you can set me straight on that. I know that I've added sugar to sauce recipes, but probably. not the amount that processed sauces do.
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    You're right--that's why nutritionists always say "shop the perimeter." The problem is people don't.

    Cheese: I just looked up my favorite everyday cheese, which of course is Vermont made: https://www.cabotcheese.coop/product...heddar-cheese/
    9% DRV salt. The dishes I looked at on Sunday were 64% DRV--and they looked pretty safe: packaged meatloaf, potatoes and veggies for instance.

    Re the sugar in spaghetti, I believe that many homemade spaghetti sauce recipes call for some sugar to cut bitterness of the tomato paste, but if any of y'all are Italian you can set me straight on that. I know that I've added sugar to sauce recipes, but probably. not the amount that processed sauces do.
    When I make my own spaghetti sauce it is a little bitter, and DH has suggested I add a teaspoon of sugar. Last time I did that and I didn’t really taste the difference it was still rather bitter. I agree than a teaspoon in a large-ish pot of spaghetti sauce is probably far less sugar than in the processed types.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    You're right--that's why nutritionists always say "shop the perimeter." The problem is people don't.

    Cheese: I just looked up my favorite everyday cheese, which of course is Vermont made: https://www.cabotcheese.coop/product...heddar-cheese/
    9% DRV salt. The dishes I looked at on Sunday were 64% DRV--and they looked pretty safe: packaged meatloaf, potatoes and veggies for instance.

    Re the sugar in spaghetti, I believe that many homemade spaghetti sauce recipes call for some sugar to cut bitterness of the tomato paste, but if any of y'all are Italian you can set me straight on that. I know that I've added sugar to sauce recipes, but probably. not the amount that processed sauces do.
    oh! I buy white cheddar Cabot cheese.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    I remember many relatives adding a wee bit of sugar when making homemade pasta sauce.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    oh! I buy white cheddar Cabot cheese.
    Yes! My next door neighbor and good friend up here works in the Accounts Recievable department at Cabot. I really like Cabot cheese. I bought another brand of the Pepper Jack cheese because it was on sale and really saw a huge difference, and not for the better.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  9. #9
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I don't pay much attention to salt, but as I recall, it's supposed to balance with potassium, which I'm pretty sure I'm not getting enough of. Oh well...

  10. #10
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    I've seen sugar in recipes, yes I consider it unnecessary.

    I have a rule I follow while cooking: no sugar in savory foods. This doesn't mean I never eat sugar. I'm not *that* disciplined. I eat sugar in desserts, maybe it's added if I go out to eat. (though my go to dessert is dark chocolate, which is not the sweetest, but it has sugar).

    But I don't add sugar to *savory* foods or buy *savory* foods with sugar for the most part (maybe a few pickled things are the exception). So whenever I see sugar in a savory food recipe I leave it out. And I have noticed few recipes suffer for it either, they come out good. I do occasionally make a salad dressing with honey or maple syrup (most salad dressings I make have no sweetener, but once in a while).

    I do agree with the original post. Things are crazy, lots of processed garbage food is produced, it's in the culture so it's hard to fight entirely. You have to be countercultural almost to eat well, but then at this point most anything sane is countercultural anyway, so may as well.
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