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Shaking out the sodium

July 2, 2010 3:10:46 AM PDT
Even a careful shopper might not worry about sodium in a box of Jell-O Instant Sugar-free, Fat-free Chocolate pudding. But a look at the label shows a surprising 310 milligrams per serving. And the Celeste Pizza for One with Sausage and Pepperoni packs in a pile of sodium, with 1,230 milligrams. Most adults shouldn't have much more than that in a whole day.

If you get too much, you run the risk of increasing your blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease, or causing problems in terms of kidney stones or osteoporosis.

Consumer Reports went shopping for lower-sodium alternatives. Instead of the Mission Flour Tortillas, which contain 630 milligrams each, Consumer Reports found Tumaro Healthy Flour Tortillas, which just contain 160. That's a big difference.

Rice-A-Roni Rice Pilaf contains 970 milligrams of sodium in a single serving. Compare that to Near East's Whole Grain Wheat Couscous Original Plain. It doesn't have any!

And in place of that Instant Jell-O with 310 milligrams of sodium, Consumer Reports found a look-alike package: Jell-O's Cook & Serve. It has a lot less - just 110 milligrams of sodium. Consumer Reports says that it pays to read the nutrition facts, but be cautious about other labels because healthy-sounding labels aren't always low in sodium. For example, V8 vegetable juice calls itself "heart healthy." But it's actually got a hefty 420 milligrams of sodium in just one cup.

Here's another tip from Consumer Reports: Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, in water to help remove excess sodium. And if you're eating out, ask the waiter to have your food prepared without added salt and to bring dressings or sauces on the side, because hidden sodium can lurk in them. You can get more information on shaking sodium from your diet on our website: www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/diet-nutrition/diets-dieting/12-ways-to-cut-salt-from-your-diet/overview/index.htm.

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this website.


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