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December 20, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Those that can't do … set policy? We've been advised by the government to slash our salt intake. But do those on the policy-setting front lines practice what they preach? Apparently not, according to an informal survey published in the journal BMJ's special Christmas issue. Like smoking nurses or overweight doctors, they may be falling down on the job when it comes to their own daily habits -- aided and abetted by the fare served in their own cafeterias. A disclaimer here: The study was done in the Netherlands.
September 8, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margarita was recently yanked from the shelves of Whole Foods markets for purportedly having a non-natural preservative thought to be sodium benzoate. Though the bottle reads "all natural," the grocery chain wasn't OK with it. TMZ reports that a class action lawsuit has also been filed against the parent company alleging misleading claims about the product being natural. What is sodium benzoate, and should you be worried about ingesting it?
August 15, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Restaurant diners are accountable for what they put in their mouths. Fried chicken too fattening? Order a salad and ask for the dressing on the side. Giant potato with mushroom gravy fit to see you through a marathon? Skip it and get the steamed artichoke with vinaigrette. But what if chefs helped us out - and lowered the fat and calories in their favorite dishes by as much as 25% while preserving the deliciousness? Photos: Dining out the smart way That's the experiment we did with chefs at three high-end restaurants in L.A. Each made a dish on their menu two ways: the usual way and then with calories, fat and sodium content trimmed to an extent they thought customers wouldn't notice.
July 24, 2011 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
For decades now, we've heard that too much sodium can cause hypertension and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. People have paid far less attention to potassium, a mineral that has opposite effects on health: Get enough of it, and it can actually lower your blood pressure and protect your heart. Now a study of more than 12,000 adults has underscored something that doctors and nutritionists have been saying for years: If you watch your sodium but ignore potassium, you're missing an important part of the picture.
July 15, 2011 | By Andrew Seidman, Los Angeles Times
In an effort to forestall proposed government regulation of food and beverage products that can be advertised to children, some of the biggest companies in the industry have put forth their own, self-imposed measures. The industry's plan targets a number of food types, including juices, dairy products, grains, soups and meals. It holds companies to limits on the amount of calories, sugar, sodium and saturated fat allowed in foods promoted to children. The self-imposed regulations, announced Thursday, would give companies time to make adjustments.
March 28, 2011 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Exactly how much salt is in Campbell Soup Co.'s "less-sodium" soups? Almost as much as in some of its regular soups, said four New Jersey women who won a federal court order rejecting a bid by the Camden, N.J., food maker to throw their lawsuit out. The women accused Campbell of misleading consumers by selling lower-sodium soups at premium prices when they had almost as much salt as regular soups. Among other things, the suit claimed that Campbell's 25% Less Sodium Tomato Soup had the same sodium level — 480 milligrams — as its regular tomato soup.
March 22, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Enjoying that cottage cheese? We have a bit of bad news for you -- a cup of the stuff could contain roughly 1,000 milligrams of sodium, a little less than half of what you should consume in an entire day. Using three packets of ketchup on those fries? There's another 534 milligrams. Making people aware of how much sodium may be in certain foods is the idea behind a series of "Salt Shocker" videos produced by the L.A. County Department of Public Health's RENEW LA County initiative as part of their sodium awareness program.
March 1, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Happy National Pancake Day! Perhaps you’re planning to celebrate by swinging by an IHOP Tuesday (if you haven’t done so already) --  the restaurant chain is offering free short stacks to all comers until 10 pm. This IS a health blog, so we can’t help relaying the following information, courtesy of the IHOP Nutritional Information website. A short stack of 3 Original Buttermilk pancakes contains: 490 calories 18 grams of fat (including 8 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of trans fat)
February 2, 2011 | By Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times
The government is telling Americans to eat less. The fast-food industry didn't get the memo. Even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out its latest nutritional advice this week — urging people to "enjoy your food, but eat less" — fast-food chains are cooking up some of their biggest offerings ever. "The bottom line is we're in the business of making money, and we make money off of what we sell," said Beth Mansfield, spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants Inc., which owns the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's chains.
February 1, 2011 | By Andrew Zajac, Washington Bureau
Salt is the latest enemy highlighted in the nation's battle against obesity and poor eating habits, with new federal dietary guidelines calling on Americans to dramatically cut sodium intake, bulk up on fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of sugary beverages. Everyone 51 and older, all African Americans and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease ?about half of the American population ? should reduce sodium in their diets by more than half, according to the revised guidelines, issued every five years by the federal government.
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