McDonald’s in the GCC understands that people are more eager than ever to make informed and balanced food choices. Now they have made it even easier to see what’s in the food people are enjoying. McDonald’s is the first quick service restaurant in the Middle East to post nutrition information right on its packaging, helping you stay informed about what you’re eating so you can make choices that suit your lifestyle. With more than 385 restaurants in Qatar and the GCC, McDonald’s offers delicious, high quality food that has a place in any balanced diet because it’s full of nutrients that our bodies need.
While it’s often easy to tell if certain foods are high in fats or proteins, it can be difficult to know which foods have high levels of sodium; these foods don’t always taste salty to us. This is where nutrition labels come in handy, because they can tell us exactly what’s in the food we are eating so we can make balanced food choices.
Farah Al Rifai, Clinical and Community Dietitian, says: “Sodium – most often found in salt – is vital to our survival; we can’t live without it. Sodium helps our bodies maintain the water content in our blood, and plays a key role in keeping our muscles moving. It’s important to remember that we only need a little bit of sodium each day to stay healthy, which is why doctors tell us to keep a close eye on our salt consumption. A diet too heavy in sodium can result in high blood pressure, heart disease and fluid retention, among many other things”.
Our bodies only need about 250mg of sodium each day, which is equivalent to about one tenth of a teaspoon and is easily supplied in many fresh foods without added sodium, like fruit and vegetables. Since most of us get all the sodium our bodies need without even trying, it is easy to take in more than we actually need. That’s why it is recommended that most adults do not exceed 2,300mg of sodium, or about one teaspoon per day.
Many of my patients believe they should consume higher levels of sodium to help their bodies retain the water they drink when living in such a hot climate. “While we do experience extremely high temperatures here in the GCC, increased sodium consumption is really only recommended for athletes who plan to do high intensity physical activity for more than a couple of hours at a time. While their bodies often do need a little extra sodium to help them exercise, the average person can still function on the recommended daily allotment”, Al Rifai advises.
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