Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? It is a quick, comforting food that reminds me of being a kid. Yet, I only eat it once or twice a year for health reasons. I am sensitive to both wheat and dairy and I choose to avoid most processed foods because they are chock full of unhealthy ingredients. In an attempt to become healthier, Kraft Foods Inc. announced it would reduce the sodium content of its 1000 plus products by an average of 10 percent. Is this enough? It’s a start.
A quick peek at the ingredients of mac and cheese’s cousin, Velveeta shells and cheese (I found this box in our cupboard) says it feeds three people per box and has 360 calories, 12 grams of fat (4 grams saturated fat) and 940mg of sodium per person! Shaving off 10 percent of that sodium number drops it down to 846mg.
The American Heart Association recommends 1500mg of sodium per day or less in your entire diet. High sodium diets can lead to the development of high blood pressure. When you consume sodium, your body naturally retains water to reduce the saltiness of your blood. This extra fluid causes the heart to pump harder. Sodium also causes your tiny arterioles to constrict which raises blood pressure.
One of many natural ways to lower blood pressure is to go on a low sodium diet – commonly called the DASH diet. Really, the DASH diet encourages you to eat less from a box and more from whole fruits, vegetables and healthy meats. Box foods are often high in sodium, calories and fat, including saturated fats. This causes nothing but trouble for your heart and waistline.
Other companies are following suit. Campbell Soup Co. and ConAgra Foods Inc are also reducing the amount of sodium in their foods by 20 to 50 percent.
With cardiovascular disease and obesity topping the charts at an all time high in America, it’s time for these companies to start making foods a lot healthier but it’s also time for the Americans who eat this food regularly to understand the risks associated with them.
As one person wrote in the Kraft Food article comment section, “I got a 100 percent reduction in sodium from Kraft food by not buying them anymore.”