Accurate Measurements of Sodium Intake Confirm Relationship with Mortality

Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and their colleagues using multiple measurements confirms it. The study suggests that an inaccurate way of estimating sodium intake may help account for the paradoxical findings of others.

“Sodium is notoriously hard to measure,” said Nancy Cook, ScD, a biostatistician in the Department of Medicine at BWH. “Sodium is hidden – you often don’t know how much of it you’re eating, which makes it hard to estimate how much a person has consumed from a dietary questionnaire. Sodium excretions are the best measure, but there are many ways of collecting those. In our work, we used multiple measures to get a more accurate picture.”

Sodium intake can be measured using a spot test to determine how much salt has been excreted in a person’s urine sample. However, sodium levels in urine can fluctuate throughout the day so an accurate measure of a person’s sodium intake on a given day requires a full 24-hour sample. In addition, sodium consumption may change from day to day, meaning that the best way to get a full picture of sodium intake is to take samples on multiple days.

While previous studies have used spot samples and the Kawasaki formula, the team assessed sodium intake in multiple ways, including estimates based on that formula as well as ones based on the gold-standard method, which uses the average of multiple, non-consecutive urine samples. They assessed results for participants in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, which included nearly 3,000 individuals with pre-hypertension.

The gold-standard method showed a direct linear relationship between increased sodium intake and increased risk of death. The team found that the Kawasaki formula suggested a J-shaped curve, which would imply that both low levels and high levels of sodium consumption were associated with increased mortality.

“Our findings indicate that inaccurate measurement of sodium intake could be an important contributor to the paradoxical J-shaped findings reported in some cohort studies. Epidemiological studies should not associate health outcomes with unreliable estimates of sodium intake,” the authors wrote.

Source: EurekAlert!

Today’s Comic


Sweden’s Top Fast-Food Chain Debuts Vegan Milkshakes

Nicole Axworthy wrote . . . . . . . .

Sweden-based fast-food chain Max Burgers will debut new vegan milkshakes to all 119 locations across the nation by this fall.

The coconut milk-based shake, which will be available in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, is currently being tested at one Max Burgers’ Stockholm location.

“It was an immediate success,” Max Burgers head of PR Marita Wengelin told VegNews.

“Our plan was to test it in another five restaurants during May, but since the demand for the shake has exceeded all our expectations, we have not been able to roll it out to further restaurants and the supplier is working hard to produce it to the required volume.”

Max Burgers plans to serve the vegan milkshakes at vegetarian music festival Way Out West in Gothenburg in August before introducing it to all Sweden locations, and plans to eventually replace all of the dairy-based milkshakes on its menu with the vegan version.

The move to replace dairy is part of Max Burgers’ environmentally motivated initiative to increase its plant-based options in its effort to encourage 50 percent of its sales to come from non-red-meat meals by 2022.

In 2016, Max Burgers introduced its Green Family vegetarian options, which include a vegan barbecue sandwich made with Oumph! vegan pulled pork, red onion, lettuce, jalapeños, and vegan mayonnaise, and will also soon offer two vegan versions of its LyxShake, a whipped-cream-based dessert made with strawberries or blueberries.

Source: Vegnews

What’s for Lunch?

Vegan Lunch Set at Hatonomori Garden in Tokyo, Japan

The Menu

Tomato Soup

Falafel Plate with Pita Bread and Vegetables

Soy Latte

A Robot Cooks Burgers at Startup Restaurant Creator in San Francisco

Here’s how Creator’s burger-cooking bot works at its 680 Folsom Street location in San Francisco. Once you order your burger style through a human concierge on a tablet, a compressed air tube pushes a baked-that-day bun into an elevator on the right. It’s sawed in half by a vibrating knife before being toasted and buttered as it’s lowered to conveyor belt. Sauces measured by the milliliter and spices by the gram are automatically squirted onto the bun. Whole pickles, tomatoes, onions and blocks of nice cheese get slices shaved off just a second before they’re dropped on top.

Meanwhile, the robot grinds hormone-free, pasture-raised brisket and chuck steak to order. But rather than mash them all up, the strands of meat hang vertically and are lightly pressed together. They form a loose but auto-griddleable patty that’s then plopped onto the bun before the whole package slides out of the machine after a total time of about five minutes. The idea is that when you bite into the burger, your teeth align with the vertical strands so instead of requiring harsh chewing it almost melts in your mouth.

Watch video at You Tube (2:41 minutes) . . . .

Philadelphia City Council Passes Sodium Warning for Chain-Restaurant Menus

The Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously today to give patrons of chain restaurants the information they need to help make informed decisions to protect their health.

The new law will require a warning label next to menu items that contain 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium (the amount in about a teaspoon of salt). That’s the recommended limit for an entire day.

Americans consume far too much sodium, mostly from restaurant and processed foods, which contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year due to heart disease and stroke. When Mayor Jim Kenney signs today’s measure into law, Philadelphia will become the second city to take this important step—joining New York City, which passed the nation’s first sodium warning policy in 2015. The new sodium warnings will complement calorie labeling that just went into effect nationwide, providing even more incentive for restaurants to improve the healthfulness of their menus and giving consumers more information when choosing what to order.

Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest