Heart&Stroke Foundation's Health Check Program is a food information program with nutrient standards based on Canada's Food Guide. The Health Check symbol can help you choose foods in grocery stores and restaurants that can be part of a healthy diet. Each food and restaurant dish in the Health Check program is evaluated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation's registered dietitians on the basis of fat, sodium, fibre and sugar as well as protein, vitamins and minerals, depending on the item. All participating food manufacturers and restaurateurs must meet these nutrient standards in order to display the Heart&Stroke Health Check symbol. Here are the nutrient standards for sodium.
Whenever health experts refer to salt, what they are really talking about is sodium; sodium is a major component of salt.
We need a certain amount of sodium to help balance fluids and electrolytes in our bodies, but most of us consume two to three times the recommended amount. Why? Well, experts believe that most of the sodium we consume comes from the prepared foods we eat and not the salt we sprinkle on our foods at the table (which accounts for only 10% of total salt intake). Sodium is added to the packaged food by the manufacturers to make foods taste better, and, over time, we've become used to it. When we eat foods with little or no sodium, we may think it lacks flavour.
Heart&Stroke Health Check nutrient standards for sodium
That's why Heart&Stroke Health Check is working with food manufacturers to cut the sodium, with a goal of reducing the sodium content of many prepared foods over the next few years.
Health Check dietitians have always actively worked to reduce sodium in products since the program began. In one product line, in the past year alone, they helped remove 10,000 kilograms of sodium from several foods. Heart&Stroke Health Check is committed to helping Canadians cut their sodium consumption. We're working with the health professional community and the food industry to make sure that substantive changes in sodium levels happen as quickly as possible. Heart&Stroke Health Check is the only program in Canada that is publicly credited by senior health experts to be improving the nutrition profiles of commercial foods, and moving sodium levels in the right direction.
Still, Dombrow suggests reading labels and checking the Nutrition Facts table carefully and selecting products with less sodium. Heart&Stroke Health Check can help. The Health Check symbol indicates the following sodium standards have been met.