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Finding & Removing the Hidden Salt

Excess sodium increases a person's risk for high blood pressure which oftenleads to heart disease, stroke, and other related diseases. Therefore, it isimportant to know where is the sodium in the American diets and how we toeffectively reduce it.

Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and foods preparedin restaurants. Sodium is already part of processed foods and cannot beremoved. So it is important to reduce sodium where we can.

The recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,"Usual sodium intakes compared with current dietary guidelines---UnitedStates, 2005-2008" provided us with some useful information in this regard

- Different brands of the same foods may have different sodium levels, so besure to read the labels.

- About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for ahealthy diet.

- Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 mg per day (about 1/2 tsp)on average could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs.

- Types of foods matter - More than 40% of sodium comes from the following10 types of foods:

- breads and rolls,

- cold cuts and cured meats such as deli or packaged ham or turkey,

- pizza, fresh and processed poultry,

- soups,

- sandwiches such as cheeseburgers,

- cheese,

- pasta dishes,

- meat mixed dishes such as meat loaf with tomato sauce

- snacks such as chips, pretzels, and popcorn.

- Brands of foods matter too. Different brands of the same foods may havedifferent sodium levels.For example, sodium in chicken noodle soup can varyby as much as 840 milligrams (mg) per serving.

- About 65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores, solook for lower sodium choices. About 25% comes from restaurants, and itcan be hard for a person to tell how much sodium is in restaurant foods.

- Americans eat on average about 3,300 mg of sodium a day. The U.S.Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day,and about 6 out of 10 adults should further limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.

- People who should limit their sodium to 1,500 mg a day are:

- People who are 51 years or older

- African Americans

- People with high blood pressure

- People with diabetes

- People with chronic kidney disease

As it can be challenging to reduce sodium in the diet because it can beincluded in foods in surprising ways. In fact, foods that otherwise seemhealthy may have high levels of sodium .

Some foods that we may eat several times a day, such as bread, can add upto a lot of sodium even though each serving is not high in sodium.

Here are some steps you can take, however, to reduce sodium in your diet.

• -Choose to purchase healthy options and talk with your grocer or favorite restaurant about stocking lower sodium food choices.

• -Read the Nutrition Facts Label while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods.

• -Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce.

- Limit processed foods high in sodium.

- When eating out, request lower sodium options.

- Support initiatives that reduce sodium in foods

In Health



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