PA and hidden dietary sodium.

I’ve written before about the importance of watching sodium intake when one has PA. Lately I’ve learned that in some parts of the U.S., this is not so easy, because the sodium content is often undisclosed.

There have been a couple of discussion points on the online support forums frequented by PA patients about meat that has been injected with sodium. Since the beginning of my diagnosis, I’ve chosen to limit my meat-eating solely to chicken and fish; this decision was originally based on the hormones that other meats are treated with (mainly estrogens) that are not legal to use in poultry and seafood. I’ve never been a big buyer of red meat to begin with, and I haven’t shopped in a grocery store that was not either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in years, so I was pretty clueless about this sodium-injected meat that people were talking about.

Turns out the industry term for it is enhanced meat, and it’s commonly sold in supermarkets that do not have butcher counters. Allegedly it must be labeled as such, but this is pretty unenforceable. Additionally, in restaurants there is no requirement to disclose that this type of meat is being used.

At Whole Foods, I can buy chicken and seafood with no salt added. I’ll gladly pay more for this privilege, and I do this most days. But every now and then I find myself with no choice but to eat in a restaurant, and I always regret it. The next day, I wake up with a headache, elevated blood pressure, and sometimes digestive issues which make me think that since my body is not capable of eliminating the excess salt through normal means, it’s trying to do so by any means necessary. I’ve decided that until I get this thing resolved, I’m opting out of restaurant eating entirely unless I can ensure that it’s at a natural-foods place that discloses all ingredients.

But not everybody with PA has the options that I do, and I find this truly disturbing. I’m not sure what the solution is other than to read every label and refuse to buy this so-called enhanced meat, but for some people, that leaves few options.

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