Most Americans Consume Too Much Salt and Sodium
Health experts recommend widespread reduction in salt/sodium, along with adequate intakes of food high in potassium to prevent hypertension and reduce the risk of heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for American and other expert groups recommend that adults and children reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (one teaspoon of salt has about 2,400 milligrams of sodium). Further reductions to 1,500 milligrams or less per day are recommended for older adults (51 years of age and older), African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) published data on American’s sodium intakes from the 2007-2008 NHANES surveys. Adults in the U.S. consumed much more than the recommended limits – an average of 3,266 mg of sodium of each day, and that doesn’t count salt that some people add at the table. The top food sources of sodium of sodium were found in 10 food categories: bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta mixed dishes, meat mixed dishes, and savory snacks such as chips and pretzels.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans eat foods with less salt/sodium. Specific ways to achieve that goal are:
- Read the Nutrition Facts label for information on the sodium content of foods and purchase foods that are low in sodium.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose foods with lower numbers.
- Consume more fresh foods and fewer processed foods that are high in sodium.
- Each more home-prepared foods where you have more control over sodium.
- When eating at restaurants, ask that salt not be added to your food or order lower sodium options when available.