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Muy Yum!: Salt Edition

July 14, 2011

Eat This, Not That: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution (I’m a big fan) recently did a feature on “THE 30 SALTIEST FOODS IN AMERICA” and hoboy, it is frightening. Essentially, we are recommended to take in no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. But, with the rise in fast and processed foods, the average American is consuming “about 3,400 milligrams of sodium every single day.”

Why is that a problem? With ever-expanding portion sizes, supersalty foods are displacing fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium. And a 1:1 ratio of sodium to potassium is critical for your health. Studies show that a high-sodium, low-potassium diet is linked to a host of maladies, including high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and exercise-induced asthma.

Wow. I know that whenever I eat out, I have to compensate by drinking a ton of water during and afterwards, and I have even been asking for “low sodium” or “no salt added” in restaurants where I know salt is a main ingredient. Let me just say that scrolling through all 30 items on this list made me feel physically ill. So, here are some of the most shocking features on this list of the 30 WORST include:

Looks Like A Crime Scene...Because It Is

Looks Like A Crime Scene...Because It Is

—Saltiest Side

Arby’s Large Mozzarella Sticks

2,047 milligrams sodium 637 calories 42 g fat (19 g saturated) Sodium Equivalent = 450 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers Anything with as much saturated fat as a Double Whopper should not be called a side. Arby’s menu presents a sides conundrum, given that their entire rosters of “Sides and Sidekickers” receives the deep-fried treatment. Best to skip over this section entirely. If it’s cheese you crave, order the French Dip ‘N Swiss of Ham and Swiss Melt instead to save more than 300 calories

Worst Sandwich In America!

Worst Sandwich In America!

—Saltiest Melt

Quizno’s Large Tuna Melt

2,120 milligrams sodium 1,760 calories 133 g fat (25 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) Sodium Equivalent = 79 Ritz Crackers This massive melt manages to win the title of “Worst Sandwich in America” based on calorie-count alone—unfortunately, there are a handful of sandwiches that make it look practically reasonable when it comes to sodium levels. Stick to the Sammie line at Quizno’s, rather than Melts or Subs. We like the Sonoma Turkey Flatbread.

A Salad To Die For

A Salad To Die For

—Saltiest Mexican Salad

On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard

2,620 milligrams sodium 1,700 calories 124 g fat (37.5 g saturated) Sodium Equivalent = 91 Rold Gold Honey Wheat Pretzels The dismal dawn of the 1,700-calorie salad is upon us. With as much saturated fat as 37 strips of bacon and more calories than 11 Taco Bell Fresco Beef Tacos, this abdomen expander earns a well-deserved spot on our list of Worst Foods in America.

I remain confused as to how a veggie sandwich could have 60g of fat...

I remain confused as to how a veggie sandwich could have 60g of fat...

—Saltiest Veggie Sandwich

Blimpie Special Vegetarian Sub (12”)

3,532 milligrams sodium 1,186 calories 60 g fat (19 g saturated) 131 g carbohydrates Sodium Equivalent = 123 Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twists “Vegetarian” doesn’t automatically translate to “healthy.” Sure, this sandwich has vegetables, but it also has 3 different kinds of cheese and a deluge of oil tucked into a hulking 12” roll. No wonder it contains more than half a day’s worth of calories and a cascade of carbs. For a truly healthy pile of vegetables, try the garden salad. IF a sandwich is the only thing that will do, you’ll have to settle for the small VeggieMax, still far from a model of meatless eating.

Also useful as a hot salt bath....

Also useful as a hot salt bath....

—Saltiest Soup

P.F. Chang’s Hot and Sour Soup Bowl

5,000 milligrams sodium 400 calories 15 g fat (5 g saturated) Sodium Equivalent = 1,368 pieces of Planters Select Macadamias, Cashews & Almonds P.F. Chang’s has published their nutrition facts for years sans sodium counts, which was cause for concern and—as it turns out—justified suspicion. Chinese food runs high on the sodium spectrum because of its reliance on viscous stir-fry sauces and salt-laden condiments like soy sauce. But this is an unfathomable amount of salt to pack into one 400-calorie bowl of soup. Unless you stick to vegetable sides and small servings of a few entrees (Orange Peel Beef, Lemon Scallops), you’re all but guaranteed to absorb 1 or more days’ worth of sodium in a single sitting at P.F. Chang’s.

You win again, P.F. Changs!

You win again, P.F. Changs!

—Saltiest Food in America

P.F. Chang’s Double Pan-Fried Noodles with Pork

7,900 milligrams sodium 1,652 calories 84 g fat (12 g saturated) Sodium Equivalent = 23 Slabs of Hormel Canadian Style Bacon Here are a few things with less salt than these sodium-sunk nefarious noodles: 239 Saltine crackers, 153 cups of Newman’s Butter popcorn, and 22 orders of McDonald’s large French fries. It’s shocking that one of Chang’s leanest dishes is a huge strip steak, normally a heavy hunk of beef. It’s also abnormally low in sodium—at least for a restaurant whose entire menu is awash in salt.

Ugh horrifying, no? I especially like Eat This, Not That’s comparisons to the absurd amounts (who eats 239 Saltines?) of what you COULD be eating instead of indulging in these appalling restaurant creations. I have seriously become ill while writing this, and need to step away from the computer but I hope we have all learned something today, folks. Eating out: no one is safe.

(All images courtesy of Eat This, Not That…my heroes)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sexy Curmudgeon permalink
    July 15, 2011 2:51 pm

    I know this is a side note, and I think this post was awesome/mainly horrific (although the fact that a vaguely ‘chinese’ restaurant has the most salty dishes is not surprising), but do you think they did a special photo shoot for this post? Because I’m really impressed with the way these dishes don’t look very appetizing – even the soup! It’s all spilled…who wants that? Unfortunately in the advertising they all look so appealing, and there is no disclaimer that you could alternately be eating 239 Saltines.

  2. July 15, 2011 4:18 pm

    Let me just say this post rocks, HangryHippo! Of course, I had to wipe down my keyboard cuz I couldn’t stop salivating at the pics, that is, until I got to read those numbers. Honestly, I’ll have to admit that I’m a “salty”…I think it was Luther Vandross who said that he’d take a steak over a piece of pie anyday! But, having a family history of high blood pressure, I’m going to have to take a closer look at those mgs….thanks for the valuable info, HH

  3. fedora permalink
    August 2, 2011 4:00 am

    Its bad that this made me want mozzarella sticks right? Damn.

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