Do you know the leading source of sodium in the American diet?

The Food and Drug Administration is finally urging food manufacturers to voluntarily limit the sodium they add to food.

The average American adult consumes at least 3,400 mg of sodium, much more than we need or is healthy for us.

“The link between sodium consumption and blood pressure is strong and well documented,” said Susan Mayne, FDA’s Director of  the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in announcing the move.

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and premature death.

“The totality of scientific evidence, as reviewed by many well-respected scientific organizations, continues to support lowering sodium consumption from current levels,” Mayne explained.

Three-quarters of the sodium we consume is added by companies and restaurants to the food we eat.  Very little is added during home cooking or at the table.

The leading source of sodium in our diet?sandwiches-and-sat-fat

Breads and rolls!  A slice of bread can have as much as 230 mg of sodium and most of us eat bread, often every day.

The next nine leading sources of sodium:

  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Pasta dishes (not including mac and cheese)
  • Meat dishessandwichandpasta
  • Snacks

These 10 types of food account for more than 40 percent of the sodium we eat each day!  Once manufacturers add sodium, we can’t really take it out. That’s why it’s critical for the nation’s health that companies cut back on the amounts they put in.


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8 Replies to “Do you know the leading source of sodium in the American diet?”

  1. Is there any way to find unbrined chicken? I haven’t seen it and I have been looking for a long time.

    1. If you mean fresh chicken or chicken parts, look for the words “air chilled” on the label, rather than “less than 5% retained water” or similar language. Two brands are Bell & Evans, and d’Artagnon. You’ll get nothing but chicken–delicious.

  2. Poultry? Meat dishes? Too general to be useful. 3400 is way too much? Then how much is the correct amount?

    1. Unfortunately, those are the categories that used in the data collection. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that the general population consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of table salt).

  3. I make my own bread, with a “recipe” (I vary it with many different grains, sometimes eggs, sometimes not, etc.) using 3 to 4 teaspoons of salt resulting in at least 3 large loaves of whole grain bread. Even with the maximum salt, there are at least 60 slices of bread, and sometimes more. Using maximum salt, minimum yield, I calculate only about 150 mg per slice, and often it would be as low as 80 mg per slice.

    Most bread recipes I see are similarly lower in salt than the amount quoted here. Has any study been done on the difference between homemade breads and commercial loaves? Or commercial vs. bakery bread?

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