Ingredients / Sodium

CDC report examines top 10 foods with the most sodium

The Centers for Disease Control has released a report on sodium in its publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that examines Americans’ sodium consumption. Researchers identified the 10 foods that contribute the most sodium to Americans’ diets and bread/rolls were found to be the top source. The full list (with each food’s contribution to daily sodium intake) is as follows:

• Bread and rolls (7.4%)
• Cold cuts/cured meats (5.1%)
• Pizza (4.9%)
• Poultry (4.5%)
• Soups (4.3%)
• Sandwiches (4%)
• Cheese (3.8%)
• Pasta mixed dishes (3.3%)
• Meat mixed dishes (3.2%)
• Savory snacks (3.1%)
Most average American consumers eat 3,300 mg. of sodium a day before adding salt from a salt shaker, the CDC found. This is twice the recommended limit for 60% of adults. The CDC came up with the figures after conducting a 2008 survey of more than 7,000 American adults and children about what they ate.

“About 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet,” the CDC report states. The survey found that the 10 categories of food listed above accounted for 44% of sodium in the U.S. diet. Bread accounted for 7.4%, meat for 5% and pizza for nearly 5%. Salty snacks such as potato chips were responsible for 3%.

“Together, these results suggest a comprehensive approach is needed that includes reductions in the sodium content in processed foods from stores, restaurants, and other food-service locations,” the report continues. Excessive sodium can raise blood pressure, a significant contributing factor in heart disease and stroke.

The data indicates that 65% of sodium comes from food bought at supermarkets and other retail stories, while 25% is from restaurant foods. Salt shakers aren’t as big a contributor as some might think. The percentage for bread is higher because people tend to eat a lot of bread, though a single slice or roll alone may not be high in sodium.

Reducing 1,200 mg. of sodium intake a day could cut health costs by as much as $20 billion, the CDC projects.


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