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Report names top sources of sodium in Americans’ diets

Several unsuspecting foods serve up hefty quantities of salt

Staff photo
Salt-laden snacks and frozen foods are staple in many kitchens across the U.S., and restaurant menus are often replete with salty menu offerings. So it may not come as a surprise, then, that most of us consume too much salt.

But consumers who are watching their salt intake may be surprised to learn which foods are the worst offenders when it comes to sodium content.

Here are the top five most common sources of salt, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Bread
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Soup

Prepackaged and restaurant foods

Findings from the new report were based on Americans’ salt intake from 2013-2014. The CDC found that 70% of sodium consumed by people in the U.S. came from 25 main food categories.

"Most Americans are consuming too much salt and it's coming from a lot of commonly consumed foods -- about 25 foods contribute the majority of salt," said lead researcher Zerleen Quader, an analyst from the CDC.

The study found that most of the salt we consume comes from prepackaged and restaurant foods -- not from the salt shaker. Other culprits include burritos and tacos, salted snacks, chicken, cheese, eggs, and omelets.

Although sodium is essential for bodily functions, having too much in your diet can increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. And it seems most of us are no strangers to going overboard on salt.

Cutting back on salt

In 2013-2014, Americans consumed about 3,400 mg of salt daily -- more than double the amount of sodium touted as “ideal” by the American Heart Association.

To help prevent consumers from exceeding the recommended daily amount of 1,500 mg of salt per day, Quader offered a few salt-slashing suggestions.

“When cooking at home, use fresh herbs and other substitutes for salt. When eating out, you can ask for meals with lower salt,” Quader told HealthDay.

Additionally, consumers can opt for canned vegetables labeled “no salt added” and frozen vegetables without salty sauces.

The report was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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