A recent article about Macklemore (an American rapper/singer for those who are unaware) caught my eye. What does Macklemore have to do with nutrition, you might be wondering. Well, the thing that caught my eye was a quote about his “go-to” meal, pho. He was quoted as saying, “pho feels healthy”. That’s a pretty common misconception about pho.
Pho is a Vietnamese dish which is primarily comprised of broth, noodles, and thinly sliced meat which cooks in the broth. It’s delicious and messy – those noodles always splash the broth in my experience. However, despite its simple, and seemingly healthy ingredients, pho is not the innocuous dish it appears to be. According to The Dish, one bowl of pho has a reasonable 600-700 calories but a whopping 3, 100 mg of sodium. The daily recommended intake of sodium for an adult is 1, 500 mg, the maximum intake being 2, 300 mg. 3, 100 mg is nearly a teaspoon and a half of salt!
Of course, preparations vary, so you may be able to find a low(er) sodium version of pho at a restaurant but I wouldn’t count on it. If you want to have a healthier pho, your best bet is to make it yourself. Bon Appetit has a quick faux pho recipe that contains 577 mg of sodium per serving. The sodium in this recipe could likely be further reduced by using a no salt added beef broth (or by making your own broth if you’re feeling ambitious).