How Much Sodium are You Eating? New Online Salt Calculator Sums it Up
Canadians can track how much salt they’re eating and identify the main sources of sodium in their diet using a new online Salt Calculator.
“Many Canadians think the biggest source of salt in their diet comes from a salt shaker, but that’s not the case - it’s the hidden sodium added during food production that’s the biggest culprit,” says Joanne Arcand, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at U of T, who helped develop the calculator.
The tool, developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), is among the first of its kind in North America.
On average, Canadians consume approximately 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which is more than two times the recommended amount. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. High sodium intake has also been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severity of asthma.
“Enabling people to monitor their sodium intake has personal benefits – like lowering blood pressure and risk of heart disease – but it can also dramatically reduce overall health care costs,” said Arcand.
The Salt Calculator – located online at http://www.projectbiglife.ca – contains 23 questions and takes less than five minutes to complete. It was developed by analyzing the sodium levels of more than 20,000 grocery and restaurant foods, and is based on Canadian eating patterns and the most up-to-date data on sodium levels.
The calculator asks questions such as: