Awhile back, the Center for Science in the Public Interest sweepingly declared that the “Food Industry’s Sodium Reduction Efforts Have Failed,” claiming that “voluntary action by the food industry to reduce sodium has failed, and that strong action on the part of the Food and Drug Administration is required to reduce the sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods.”
Consumers have choices, and should be encouraged to make wise decisions – not forced by a federal bureaucracy. After all, with packaged foods, you can SEE what the various nutrition components are – including sodium – so people can decide what the best formulations are for them!
For example: there are awful things out there – like Chipotle chicken burritos, which (depending on what your ingredient combination is) can have around 2000 mg of sodium; or Wendy’s homestyle chicken fillet sandwich, which has 1290 mg of sodium, or even Wendy’s “Baconator”, which has 2020 mg of sodium. Compare that to the average Lean Cuisine entrée, which has 285 calories and 590 mg of sodium, while the average Stouffer’s entrée has 360 calories and 850mg of sodium.
In many cases, frozen is as good as – or better than – homemade.
* Amy’s macaroni and cheese has 400 calories, 10g of saturated fat, and 640 mg of sodium, while homemade mac & cheese has 484 calories, 8g of saturated fat, and 928 mg of sodium.
*A ham & cheese Hot Pockets has 300 calories, 5g saturated fat, and 660 mg sodium, while a homemade ham & cheese sandwich has 363 calories, 6g saturated fat, and 1407 mg sodium.
Same thing with eating out: frozen is as good as – or better than – restaurant meals. In addition, getting nutritional information from restaurants (particularly ones that aren’t chains) is very difficult… and chain restaurant info isn’t necessarily even accurate.
*General Paul’s Chicken Complete Skillet Meal by Newman’s Organic (sesame breaded chicken tenderloins, pasta, green beans, and red peppers) has 400 calories, 16g fat, and 740 mg sodium, while HALF of an Applebee’s Oriental grilled chicken salad (mixed greens, Oriental vinaigrette, crispy noodles, toasted almonds, and grilled chicken tenders) has 680 calories, 40g fat, and 1640 mg sodium.
* Bertolli’s chicken alfredo and penne has 530 calories, 16g saturated fat, and 1040mg sodium, while a dinner portion of a leading Italian chain’s chicken alfredo has 1440 calories, 48g saturated fat, and 2070mg of sodium.
Certainly, there’s a portion control aspect to this as well. But unless the food nannies want to regulate that too (actually – don’t give them any ideas!!!), isn’t it best to let people make their own choices – and live with the consequences?