Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salt Overload

According to a new article put out by the Center for Disease Control on Tuesday, over 90% of Americans get too much sodium in their diets. And the surprising news is this: most of the salt we eat does not come from the salt shaker, it is hidden in our foods.

More than 40% of the salt we eat comes from 10 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

About 65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores, so look for lower sodium choices at the grocery store. About 25% comes from restaurants, and it can be hard for a person to tell how much sodium is in restaurant foods. Ask your server if there are low sodium options, or check the nutrition facts for favorite restaurants online.

So, what can you do? Read food labels for all foods, paying attention to how much sodium each food contains. A good rule of thumb is to limit sodium to less than 200 mg per food. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and eat at home as much as you can. And remember, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally low in sodium and high in essential vitamins and minerals!

Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 mg per person per day on average could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs. Over 400,000 American deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure, and decreasing the amount of sodium we eat could save thousands of lives.

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