Too Much Salt in Hospital Food
Hospital food is notoriously unpalatable but what's worse is that a new study has shown that the meals on your tray are loaded with are loaded with too much sodium. Lead author JoAnne Arcand, PhD, RD, of the University of Toronto and colleagues published their findings in theArchives of Internal Medicine. "We demonstrated that hospital patient menus contain excessive levels of sodium: 86% of regular and 100% of diabetic standard-unselected menus exceeded the [tolerable upper level] (UL)of 2300 mg of sodium, and 100% of these menus exceeded the [adequate intake level]AI of 1500 mg.," they wrote.
When patients selected their own menus, the salt content jumped even higher. "This observation could have important clinical implications given the therapeutic necessity of sodium restriction in conditions such as decompensated heart failure," the authors commented, and added that hospitals are "increasingly serving prepared foods rather than preparing foods from unprocessed ingredients." This is especially alarming in light of the fact that hospital patients are by definition "nutritionally vulnerable" or have heart disease "for which sodium intake regulation is essential."
And so? If there's a hospital stay in your future, you might do well to have friends and family bring you some fresh and healthy dishes so you can skip the uber-salted choices you'll be offered by, ironically, the very people who are charged with making sure you get well!