McNuggets: A Sodium Death Trap?
Love those tasty golden Chicken McNuggets? Or, maybe you’ve taken a liking to the new min-McNuggets (called McBites) that the restaurant chain just came out with. Well, you’re not alone. These fast food treats are almost a staple in the diets of many adults and children alike.
But did you know that these yummy nuggets could be slowly killing you? Or, as a matter of fact, that most foods that aren’t even nearly as high in sodium could be killing you and your children?
The McNugget Diet
Recent headlines about Stacy Irvine, a 17 year old from the UK, who has been living on almost nothing but chicken McNuggets for the last 15 years has definitely peaked people’s curiosity. But this strange story can also teach you a lesson or two about the dangers of a diet that is high in sodium.
Irvine’s story made headlines after the teen collapsed at work and was found to have a myriad of health issues—most not common for someone her age. But, when you consider that a 10-piece order of Chicken McNuggets has approximately 900mg of sodium (that’s more than half the amount you should consume in an entire day), the real news should be that she’s not dead yet!
Do You Know How Much Salt You’re Consuming?
Most people are absolutely shocked to learn just how much salt they’re consuming each day. The U.S. government’s recommendation for sodium intake says that you should not consume more than 1,500mg of sodium per day. This equals approximately 2/3 of a teaspoon. However, it’s been found that most Americans are actually consuming close to 3,500mg per day!
Considering how much sodium is found in packaged foods, including those that don’t even taste “salty,” it’s not surprising that we as a nation are consuming so much more than we think. The key to overcoming this ignorance is reading labels on all the foods you buy as well as being more aware about the salt that you add to foods when cooking.
Cutting back on salt is easy—it’s the side effects that are a problem. You actually only need 500mg of salt a day to keep your body working as it should. But because people consistently consume so much more, many of us are addicted to sodium without even realizing it.
Therefore, cutting back, though good for you and a must to keep your risk of heart attack and stroke down, is not easy. A salt addiction can trigger the release of dopamine just like smoking, alcohol, and drugs do. Those McNuggets make you feel good temporarily which is why you enjoy eating them, but the risks are just not worth the short-lived high.
How Salt is Killing You Slowly
A diet that is high in sodium can be killing you slowly by leading to life-threatening conditions directly linked to sodium intake. A diet high in salt can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at risk for a heart attack and stroke. New evidence also exists linking high sodium intake to cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, dementia, and kidney disease.
Take a good hard look at just how much salt you’re really consuming and start making some changes. Cutting back on salt could very well save your life.