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Aug 9, 2011 05:03 AM

Whole Foods vs Trader Joes.....

Would love to hear which people prefer....I am on a mission to find low sodium foods and I am really having a hard time...Went to the new Whole Foods yesterday and was underwhelmed...not many low sodium products and what they did have were almost 2x the price at other groceries...what am i missing????
Next I will try Trader Joe's and hope for the best!!!
As an aside,,,,is anyone else made crazy by the fact that EVERYTHING seems to have added sodium...Just having ketchup could take you a third (at least) of your way to your daily allowance.....and one wonders why heart disease is so prevalent in the US?????

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  1. Everything has sodium because everything tastes better with salt. This is culinary fact. WF is more about having whole and organic products. TJ is more about fun, tasty, pre-made stuff. You're really not going to find under-seasoned products there. A lot of products do have too much sodium (soups and sauces are probably the worst offenders), but that doesn't mean all packaged stuff is bad. A lot, like Heinz ketchup, have just the perfect amount.

    Low salt means bland food. You can toss all the spices, acids and fat you want at it, but you're not going to find a good substitute for salt. Health wise, salt is not the enemy. Neither is sugar nor fat. The problem lies with a lack of self-control and discipline; people don't eat in moderation and lack the focus to exercise. One can enjoy good, properly seasoned food, in moderation and exercise as our bodies are meant to do, or one can keep pointing fingers. For food lovers, the choice is obvious.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ediblover

      I have to respectfully DISAGREE with you on a few things:

      1) Trader Joes actutually DOES have a great array of low sodium foods well as a multi page list that they give out directing you to them!!

      2) Salt IS the enemy and NOT due to lack of self control....Studies have shown most people who also salt their food consume between 6 and 8 thousand mg of sodium a day......don't use the salt shaker and most people still consume between 3 and 4 thousand mg of sodium a day. Anyone over 50 (health issues or not) should consume NO MORE THAN 1500 mg....others about 2400...
      With a pile of ketchup for your fries coming in at over 500 mg.....people are UNAWARE of the hidden sodium....not lacking self control...

      I agree tho that NOT ONE food is THE ENEMY and that everything in moderation....My concern is with all the hidden sodium that one never even thinks about...that adds up to more than anyone needs.....
      and PS....Our bodies were NEVER meant to consume processed food!!!!

      1. re: ilovesummer

        "Our bodies were NEVER meant to consume processed food!!!!"

        What does that even mean? We should just stick to caveman diets? People bandy the word "processed" around like it's the ultimate evil but it is really a meaningless term.

        1. re: ferret

          I actually agree with you on this. Even whole wheat flour has been processed! Canned beans have been processed. The very best bread you ever ate has been processed. However, most people mean largely manufactured foods when they use the term "processed food." At least that is how I interpret the usage of the OP here. We do need a shorthand term for this. Do you have a better term in mind?

          1. re: ferret

            Ah. people are idiots. if we've bred ourselves to be beer tolerant, yes we damn well have made our bodies meant to consume processed food.
            And white rice is older than large scale consumption of beer, I'm pretty sure.

          2. re: ilovesummer

            Great, low-sodium food is an oxymoron. Out of the 5 tastes, salty is really the only one that has one source (salt). It's also the one that seems to enhance the others, so it goes well with everything.

            Study this, study that. For every study that says salt is bad, there's another one that says salt isn't bad. Bringing either side up is rather pointless, unless it's just to show that we really don't know. Hard for people to be unaware of the salt in food when it's a very obvious taste/presence and it's labeled.

            Just about everything in TJ's is processed food. And, I'd love to know how anyone knows what our bodies were meant to do and not do. If you believe in evolution, it'd mean you know the full biological/behavioral patterns of man, which includes the so-called missing link. If you believe in creationism, it'd mean you know what God is thinking.

            Funny thing about basing everything on our ancestors... They were really, really active. After all, they were doing the whole hunter and gathering thing to survive. Are you as active as they were?

            1. re: ediblover

              Salt's bad for those with chronically high blood pressure and a specific genetic profile, afaik.

        2. I believe that salt restriction as therapy is losing believers these days. Better to balance everything by eating unprocessed food, and not adding salt at the table. If your family tends toward diabetes and heart disease, better to concentrate on lowering carbs and fat and get more exercise. Just my opinion.

          WF does not do a good job with low carb, low fat or low sodium. I find some things there, for my low carb eating, but it isn't a specialty of theirs. I use WF as a second source of produce, bread and some dairy. My regular grocer does a better job of stocking "diet" products.

          10 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            Whole Foods doesn't do a good job with low carb? Last time I checked you could buy meat and vegetables there. There's low carb.

            And no, salt is not the enemy. If you get rid of processed foods you can add salt pretty much as you like. Your body does a pretty good job of getting rid of excess sodium. If you're that worried increase your water intake.

            As for WF vs. TJ, both are expensive and overrated.

            1. re: MandalayVA

              OK. I do some low carb buying at WF weekly, including their celery, cottage cheese and ricotta and bread. However, I don't do the bulk of my shopping there, because I can find more low carb products at my regular grocer, which does a really good job with specialty foods. It is a balancing act eating low carb and low fat. I need at least 2 sources of food, plus a farmer's market this time of year. However I stand by what I stated previously, but perhaps I can say it more accurately. WF's emphasis is on organics and less processed foods. Their emphasis is not on "diet specialty" foods.

              1. re: MandalayVA

                Trader Joe's is expensive? They're known as a bargain grocery store.

                1. re: virtualguthrie

                  It's only expensive for rubes, who think that anything labeled truffle or marcona is expensive.

                2. re: MandalayVA

                  Unless you have liver or heart damage, then you should restrict you're sodium to less than 1500 mg a day.

                  1. re: thegrube

                    Medical advice is not really appropriate on Chow especially as this tidbit you offer is not necessarily true. Just FYI

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      You'll have to tell my doctor it is not necessarily true since this is her max allowed for people with the health conditions. If your going to promote low sodium items then this info is relevant to thousands of people

                      1. re: thegrube

                        Your post implies that you should limit sodium "unless you have liver or heart damage." Perhaps it's missing a word.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          If that's how it came across then I'm sorry,I meant those with these health problems can escalate their problem with the doctors limits of sodium exceeded. Over consumption of sodium is a problem for most people now entrée on most restaurant menus exceed twice the recommended limits for all people.

                          1. re: thegrube

                            Yea I wasn't arguing I was just pointing out the statement was confusing in case anyone else read it. Sodium is one of the top reasons I don't eat out.

              2. Check out Trader Joes- they have a lot of low sodium products. I like their Raisin Bran, both low sugar and sodium, which is hard to find in other brands....

                1. What food are you looking for? Canned, frozen, pre-made?

                  If all of those, probably TJ's is a bit better. If not, well, Whole Foods has a better selection of fresh produce ... so there you go. Personally, I just can't take the WF produce prices which are usually double of even the most farmers market items.

                  If looking to avoid salt, it is better to cook your own. People get addicted to salt. Until I married, I didn't even have a container of salt in the house. If you buy fresh, good-quality produce, meat and fish then when eating food with lots of salt, that is all you taste in pre-made food.

                  1. what do you mean by low sodium? advertised as such? whole foods has a lot of fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, which are low in sodium. trader joes in my area is much worse for fresh items but has really cool frozen or packaged items- such as all natural berry pies with crumb topping or bake yourself frozen croissants. the more complicated or non dessert items are pretty much all high in sodium as indicated by the nutritional info. prepared food is genrally like this.