This just in: Pickles Cause Heart Attacks!
Well, of course they don’t. But can over-consumption contribute to a good old coronary? You betcha.
Now colour me naïve for being somewhat clueless to the matter, but I was only enlightened recently to just how much sodium there is in some of Canada’s favourite condiments. Not sure why it never dawned on me to check before – but as both Ryder and Reid love a good pickle, I’m feeling like quite the bad mom for not paying attention to the label.
Exhibit A: a standard Bick’s Pickle.
(Disclaimer: Not picking on Bick’s AT ALL, just making a point about pickles in general.)
We were treated to a BBQ at Grandma’s house on Saturday night, as being in weekend-crisis mode over leaving for NYC in a few days necessitated some TLC and SEC (translation: someone else cooking). As the burgers were grilled to perfection by Chef Grandpa, my mom asked me to assemble the condiments, including – of course – pickles!
Who doesn’t love pickles? They’re crunchy, tangy and pack just the right acidic punch. But as I began slicing them up, a scary figure caught my eye: the sodium content. YIKES! 480mg for ONE pickle? I can eat one pickle with two hands tied behind my back. Surely my eyes were deceiving me… no?
They weren’t. And from my % Daily Value training, I knew that the 20% represented your daily recommended allowance for sodium – and that 20% was A LOT. Seriously folks, wanna blow 1/5 of your daily salt intake on THIS?
Granted, it is delicious. But it’s a condiment, dammit! I’ve seen entire Lean Cuisine meals with less sodium than just one medium-sized pickle. I then alerted my mom – who carefully watches her salt intake – and even she was floored to see just how much sodium was absorbed by the little cucumber in the pickling liquid. It’s official: I’m off pickles.
Exhibit B: Bick’s Banana Pepper Rings.
Okay, these are even more delicious than pickles and I swear I put them on everything that comes off the barbecue. After picklegate, I was scared to see what the sodium damage was – but then reasoned that I only ate a few per serving – say, 5-6 tops?
The serving size is JUST TWO PIECES – and those two pieces once again give you about 20% of your daily recommended allowance of sodium. Say what? I ask you this: who eats just two banana peppers? On a 6-foot sub alone I’d have about 10-12. To put it in perspective, this is what 1/5 of your daily recommended salt intake looks like:
And, to further illustrate my point, if you had a hamburger layered with 5-6 banana peppers and a pickle on the side, you’d already be looking at 80% of your daily sodium allowance… without even biting into the burger. To quote Gwen Stefani, this sh*t is bananas – B A N A N A S!
EDIT: Reader Olivia pointed out that in the case of Banana Peppers, Bick’s likely meant two WHOLE PEPPERS, as there is no way 2 pieces could be 30g. Excellent point! However, Bick’s – you need to brush up on your labeling. “2 pieces” can only be interpreted one way…
Considering I ate pickles all day long while pregnant with Reid, it’s no wonder I gained so much water weight and struggled with swollen joints and varicose veins. Wish I had known about the perils of pickling liquid back then!
On the bright side, I’ve decided to remove pickled condiments from my diet and spend my sodium allowance on delicious foods that are worth the trade-off, at least to me.
Tell me – are you surprised by the “hidden” sodium in pickles?