Bread tops list of leading sodium sources

By Emily Miller • Published: January 24th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Before reaching for that second or third dinner roll, consider this fact from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Bread and rolls are the biggest sources of salt for Americans.

According to the CDC, the majority of sodium Americans consume is in processed and restaurant foods. In fact, more than 40 percent of sodium comes from just 10 types of foods. Breads and rolls are the number one offender, nearly doubling the sodium found in snack foods. The list continues with cold cuts and cured meats in second, followed by pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes and meat dishes. Surprisingly, snacks such as chips, pretzels and popcorn were at the bottom of the list.

Too much sodium in a person’s diet can lead to an increase in blood pressure and a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the CDC, Americans eat about thirty-three hundred milligrams of sodium a day on average. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than twenty-three hundred milligrams a day for most people. African Americans, people over age 51, and individuals with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their sodium intake to just fifteen-hundred milligrams a day.

One way to cut back on salt is to check food labels. Brands of the same foods may have different sodium levels. For example, according to the CDC, sodium in chicken noodle soup can vary by as much as 840 milligrams per serving. Cutting back on bread and rolls, choosing fresh or frozen foods, and ordering dishes with no salt or less salt can all help, too.

So, as we start a new year, make it your resolution to shake up your salt intake.