If you were to guess what the number one source of salt in the American diet might be, you’d probably guess potato chips or some other salty snack, right?
You’d be wrong. Salty snacks barely crack the top ten.
According to a new government report, bread and rolls are at the top of the list—the biggest source of salt for Americans today. Bread and rolls account for more than twice the amount sodium in our diets as salty junk foods. Salty snacks actually came in at the bottom of the list compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn — which we think of as the saltiest foods in our diet — are only No. 10,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
It’s not that bread and rolls are that much saltier than other foods, it’s that people tend to eat more of them, says Mary Cogswell, a CDC senior scientist who co-wrote the report.
For most people, salt is the main source of sodium, and sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Americans get too much salt, say health officials, and they get much of it from processed foods rather than from the salt shaker.
CDC officials said they were surprised to find that just 10 foods are responsible for 44 percent of the sodium we consume in this country.
Here’s the top ten list of sodium sources in the average U.S. diet, according to the CDC report.
- Breads and rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Fresh and processed poultry
- Spaghetti and other pasta dishes
- Meat dishes
- Salty snacks such as potato chips and pretzels
Dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, equal to about a teaspoon of salt. Certain people, such as those with high blood pressure, should consume even less.
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