The Centers for Disease Control compiled a list of the top sources of sodium in the American diet, and the list is likely to surprise you. Nine out of ten Americans consume too much salt on a daily basis, but the culprit isn’t salty snacks like pretzels or chips. In fact, you may be eating the two biggest sources of sodium in your lunch today: bread and cold cuts appear as the top two.
Mary Cogswell, one of the reports authors, explains that breads and rolls don’t necessarily contain more salt than other foods, but that people tend to eat more of them. However, you can cut your sodium intake by looking for breads that contain less than 150 milligrams per slice. Similarly, look for low-sodium deli meats and try to avoid salami, bologna and pimento.
Other items on the list include pizza, processed poultry, pasta dishes and soups. Salty snacks appeared at the tenth item on the CDC’s list, accounting for 3.1 percent of all sodium consumption. Like bread and other products, you can cut a significant amount of sodium from your diet by comparing the nutrition labels on the back of packages. The difference in sodium between one brand of potato chips an another can be as much as 150 milligrams.
The list was compiled based on a survey of 7,200 people, including about 3,000 children. On average, Americans consume 3,300 milligrams, about 1,000 milligrams more than the daily recommended intake. Consuming too much sodium is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and hypertension.
Perhaps the most important idea conveyed by the list is that it’s possible to consume too much sodium without eating a lot of salty foods. In addition to encouraging consumers to read labels, they’re also encouraging people to cook more at home to reduce their sodium intake.