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Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Sodium... Mmm... on 10/19/2011 22:54:08 MDT Print View

A bit of sarcasm in the thread title.

What's the rationale behind including such a high amount of salt in dehydrated foods?

Is it due to salt's preservative qualities? Is it due to electrolyte replacement necessity? Is it just for enhancing the flavor of an already bland meal?

I'm just curious.

Also, are there any dehydrated foods (brands) that are low or "normal" on the amounts of salt they include in their meals? I know the quick answer is probably to make and dehydrate my own (low salt) meals, but I am wondering if there is some commercial brands out there that already do this.

Thanks...

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 10/19/2011 23:00:41 MDT Print View

Is it due to salt's preservative qualities? Is it due to electrolyte replacement necessity? Is it just for enhancing the flavor of an already bland meal?

Yes but more so for the last two.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Sodium... Mmm..." on 10/19/2011 23:09:40 MDT Print View

They put enough sodium in those meals to replenish electrolyte levels in a spent race horse. I think Ken is right, probably #3 mostly.

Mountainhouse claims that they originally loaded their meals with sodium for performance purposes (sodium loss), but they're "working on it".

From the Mountain House FAQ page:

Why do you put so much sodium in your product?

"Our products were orignally designed to fit a high-performance lifestyle, replacing some of the sodium lost during heavy exertion. However, we understand today's concern regarding high sodium and we ARE making improvements to all of our products to reduce sodium."

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Electrolyte replenishment? on 10/19/2011 23:19:37 MDT Print View

Call me crazy, but if I need electrolyte replacement I'll drink a Gatorade (or something similar). There's a reason why they don't hand out hot steaming bowls of lasagna along the way at marathons...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Electrolyte replenishment? on 10/19/2011 23:38:26 MDT Print View

In the middle of nordic ski marathon races, they routinely serve hot blueberry soup to the participants. Few athletes sweat more than a nordic racer.

--B.G.--

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Sodium... Mmm..." on 10/19/2011 23:39:32 MDT Print View

"There's a reason why they don't hand out hot steaming bowls of lasagna along the way at marathons..."

;-) Hilarious.

The disproportional ratio of porta johns to race entrants might also be a factor.

Check out Pack Lite Foods, never tried their meals but they claim low sodium on their site.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: "Sodium... Mmm..." on 10/20/2011 08:11:27 MDT Print View

Packlite foods are quite tasty - and are vegetarian friendly as well!

IMO I have always felt that the sodium is used to boost the flavors. Because simply put sodium isn't the only thing needed when sweating - potassium is just as important!

A person who eats out 2-3 meals a day would find MH and similar brands to be "normal" for salt (eek). But worse is....maybe, just maybe the big players in freeze-dried meals could make the meals real appetite size - so that the consumer isn't eating 2 servings just to be full!! Packitgourmet and Packlite for example get this. Maryjane meals are relatively lower in sodium as well but don't fill up so well.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 10/20/2011 08:19:48 MDT Print View

In the coming months/years you will see sodium levels coming down in those meals hopefully.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sodium on 10/24/2011 21:03:44 MDT Print View

I hope you are correct, John. Some meals have double the RDA for sodium. Bleh.

Mountain House
(Mountain_House) - F
Re: "Sodium... Mmm..." on 04/13/2012 11:30:06 MDT Print View

Eugene, thanks for letting us know your thoughts about our freeze-dried backpacking food. I'm here on behalf of Mountain House, and I want to let you know we have been listening to concerns from customers like you, and we have made changes to our meals. I would like to send you a free sample of one of our new low sodium meals, which have less than 300 mg of sodium. If you're interested, please send me a PM. Thanks!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/13/2012 14:19:24 MDT Print View

Maybe its not a bad thing. Hiking in the desert I lose a lot of salt/minerals. Sometimes the back of my shirt becomes almost as hard a cardboard with all the mineral loss that is absorbed by the material.

Many desert hikers take salt tablets, but I find they upset my stomach.

When I first moved to the desert, one summer day I was outdoors with a friend painting my motel. Temps probably around 120F. Didn't know much about working in an extreme climate. Towards the end of the day we both got light-headed and nauseous. So we took a break and sat in the shade, ate some potato chips and drank ice tea. Within 30 minutes we both felt great again. It was the salt that did the trick.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/13/2012 16:06:13 MDT Print View

Actually potato chips contain a lot of potassium. To take in water you need both sodium and potassium. Potassium is needed by your heart!! Salt isn't everything.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/13/2012 17:04:16 MDT Print View

"Actually potato chips contain a lot of potassium. To take in water you need both sodium and potassium. Potassium is needed by your heart!! Salt isn't everything."

Yes I did state earlier salt/minerals. Anyway, the point I was making is the the RDA (if it is even valid), may not apply when we are engaged in strenuous activities. But I am not a doctor... just a silly hiker.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/13/2012 18:30:49 MDT Print View

"Yes I did state earlier salt/minerals. Anyway, the point I was making is the the RDA (if it is even valid), may not apply when we are engaged in strenuous activities. But I am not a doctor... just a silly hiker."



I agree with Nick.
One thing is what you eat at home on a regular basis; high salts while exerting yourself should be fine, if not beneficial.
Also, "salts" include sodium, potassium, magnesium and a few more.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/13/2012 19:41:25 MDT Print View

Only in extreme situations (high heat, extreme sports, similar) does a person need extra salt added. Frankly the majority of us get way too much on our diets as is. One issue is not stopping to drink often enough - and to have a light snack each time you stop. If we all did that we would have less issues.

But few of us will EVER need to eat 2K or more of sodium in a single meal AFTER hiking in camp. (Although to be honest many people do this eery time they eat out - it is easy to consume 2 to 5K of sodium in a restaurant meal!!)

In a typical situation of hiking the kidneys retain the sodium needed to function (if a person is healthy of course, with no renal issues).

If one is concerned they should consult a sports doctor on it. But few of us here are doing marathons and above in desert temps.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
: "Sodium... Mmm..." on 04/14/2012 20:39:16 MDT Print View

Way to go Mountain House for reading/listening! (Seriously).

On another note: when are you coming out with a freeze dried waiter offering a bottle of Merlot?

Edited by book on 04/14/2012 20:45:59 MDT.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Salt assault on 04/14/2012 22:41:39 MDT Print View

"Maybe its not a bad thing. Hiking in the desert I lose a lot of salt/minerals. Sometimes the back of my shirt becomes almost as hard a cardboard with all the mineral loss that is absorbed by the material.

Many desert hikers take salt tablets, but I find they upset my stomach.

When I first moved to the desert, one summer day I was outdoors with a friend painting my motel. Temps probably around 120F. Didn't know much about working in an extreme climate. Towards the end of the day we both got light-headed and nauseous. So we took a break and sat in the shade, ate some potato chips and drank ice tea. Within 30 minutes we both felt great again. It was the salt that did the trick."

I have no problem with salt tablets or salty snacks--those are things you can control. Need more salt? Eat more pretzels. Need less salt? Hold off on those salt tablets.

But with instant meals, sodium amounts are already predetermined and set. Perhaps the manufacturers could market them with intial low salt amounts, but include a separate packet of salt so the meal could be adjusted according to personal preference.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Sodium... Mmm... on 04/15/2012 03:08:38 MDT Print View

All I know is in the summer, I go nuts over salty foods. Cheezits get totally devoured. My body wants it.

Mountain House
(Mountain_House) - F
Re: : "Sodium... Mmm..." on 04/16/2012 10:36:19 MDT Print View

Jeffrey, how did you find out about our 2013 products...

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: "Sodium... Mmm..." on 04/16/2012 14:31:52 MDT Print View

MH -- hate to pile on here, but I found two MH items in my go-box.
Lasagna with Meat Sauce -- 630 mg (26%)
Chocolate Strawberry Crunch (kid bribe) -- 380 mg (16%) (which is really low for one of your products).
The problem is this is only 430 calories. You can do the math.

The reason I still have them is the meals are way to salty for me.

I will be looking for your new products to hit the market.