Where Does All the Salt in Our Diet Come From?

It’s been established that most Americans are eating more salt than they should. My doctor has told me repeatedly to cut down on salt consumption as a way of helping my high blood pressure come down.

But I never add salt to any dishes, whether ones I cook at home or eat out, so I’ve repeatedly asked him, “where is the salt coming from?”

Now I have an answer, and it might not be one you’d expect. A new study says we’re bringing a lot of salt home with us in the food we buy at supermarkets and elsewhere. Indeed, the majority of our average daily salt consumption, 65 percent, comes from food we buy to eat at home. The other 35 percent comes from restaurant food, the pre-made entrees and side dishes that are salted for us before we ever see them.

Bread contains salt, for example, so if you’re eating a lot of bread with a meal to feel full, think again about that habit.

“The survey found that 10 categories of food accounted for 44 percent of sodium in the U.S. diet. Bread accounted for 7.4 percent, meat for 5 percent, and pizza for nearly 5 percent. Salty snacks such as potato chips weighed in at 3 percent,” reports a story in the National Journal.

We know we should be vigilant when eating out, but this study reminds us eating home can cause us health problems too if we’re not aware of what’s in the foods we eat around the kitchen and dining room tables. For example, a cup of regular  milk has 98 mg of salt in it. Most dairy has a high salt content. Many breakfast cereals have as much as 250 mg of salt in a single cup. Always read the nutritional breakdown.

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Filed under blood pressure, fast food

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