There are very few restaurant foods that are high potassium foods with the 3 to 1 ratio of potassium to sodium that protects against high blood pressure and osteoporosis. The sit-down restaurants are much like the fast food restaurants as far as sodium content of their food. They have to rely on foods that have a long enough shelf life, since they buy food in bulk that has to be shipped. One of the most common ways to preserve shelf life is with sodium.
Lately there are some local restaurants that buy locally and fresh. Going to a local restaurant that gets food from local farms or ranches gives you a better chance of getting fresh food that has not been treated with sodium. These restaurants are more likely to have foods with a good potassium to sodium ratio. But their foods are not in the National Database, so it is difficult to know the potassium and sodium make-up of their dishes.
The dishes included in the database are the ones from some of the chain restaurants, such as Applebee's, Cracker Barrel, T.G.I. Friday's and Denny's. Uniformly the foods have large amounts of sodium, except for the rare exception such as some French fries. However, even French fries have sodium added. Their ratio is lower than natural potatoes. The foods making the table with the best ratio of potassium to sodium are French fries. And most people add salt to their French fries, which destroys the potassium sodium ratio.
We lowered the ratio for the table, so that more than two foods could be included. All the other foods tested had as much sodium as potassium, or much more sodium than potassium. Even with the lowered standard there were only 6 foods.
The best bet for getting food with a healthy potassium and sodium content is to avoid eating out as much as possible, and to get your own food for preparation. Buying food that has not been treated with sodium will give you a better chance of getting food with a good load of potassium.
There will be no posts on foods that are the packaged, prepared meals available at the grocery, such as Stouffer's, Healthy Choice, Campbell or other prepared meals and entrees that are in the National Database. These all are high in sodium. They have sodium used to extend shelf life. None of those in the National Database have a favorable ratio. Some may have dishes within the meal that are okay, but the meals all were analyzed as a whole. These foods are located in the central part of the grocery. It has been said that the healthiest foods are located at the periphery of the grocery. This is where the fresh, unpackaged, unprocessed foods are generally located, although often the processed meats (luncheon meats, sausages, etc) are also located there.
The weights for the potassium and sodium are milligrams. The potassium and sodium values given are for 100 grams of food.
As usual, K is potassium, and Na is sodium.
Except for the potassium to sodium ratio (which we calculated), the source of data is: USDA National Nutrient Database Standard Reference – Release 22.
|T.G.I. FRIDAY'S, FRENCH FRIES||669||374||1.8|
|T.G.I. FRIDAY'S, CLASSIC SIRLOIN STEAK||382||194||2|
|RESTAURANT, FAMILY STYLE, FR FRIES||610||314||1.9|
|CRACKER BARREL, STEAK FRIES||524||48||10.9|
|CRACKER BARREL, GRILLED SIRLOIN STEAK||367||134||2.7|
|DENNY'S, FRENCH FRIES||620||46||13.5|