As a rule, people tend to believe that simply removing the salt shaker from the dinner table is the best means of reducing their sodium intake. However, they are sadly mistaken.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the average American consumes twice the amount of sodium they need. In fact, a startling 9 out of 10 Americans get far to much sodium every day.
It is said that the average U.S. dietary guidelines of less than 2,300 milligrams of salt each day only applies to about 30% of the population. The other 70% – the middle-aged, elderly or African American – should have less than 1,500 milligrams of salt each day.
How is it, then, that so many Americans are getting more than twice the recommended daily dose of sodium: 3,466 milligrams?
Elena V. Kuklina, MD, PhD, senior service fellow at the CDC’s division of heart disease and stroke prevention shared this with WebMD, “All food categories contribute to sodium intake. But grains and meat – the foods we eat most – contribute the most sodium.”
In particular, the CDC has identified the five foods from which Americans get their sodium: chicken and mixed chicken dinners; cold cuts; pasta dishes; pizza; and, yeast breads. Through our consumption of so much salt, we are dangerously at risk of raising our blood pressure which, in turn, increases our risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. If everyone would follow the sodium-intake guidelines above, the CDC believes there would be as many as 120,000 as many as 120,000 less cases of heart disease and up to 66,000 fewer strokes each year.
This list will identify the three food groups from which we get the most sodium intake. Read carefully, as some noted will likely surprise you.
37% of our daily sodium intake is consumed through grains. These foods include grain-based frozen meals and soups, breads and pizza. (Pizza is mostly salty bread.)
Contrary to popular belief, this category also includes poultry and fish. We get about 28% of our daily sodium intake from meats. Surprisingly, chicken has the highest sodium content.
People are often shocked to learn that vegetables contribute a little more than 12% of our daily sodium intake. (Potato chips and french fries are vegetables, after all.) Canned vegetables, vegetable soups and vegetable sauces tend to be packed with salt.