Ten Foods Provide Half of Sodium Eaten in US

February 10, 2012

February 9, 2012 (Atlanta, Georgia) — New figures from a US food survey will hardly surprise readers of heartwire , detailing, as they do, that nine out of 10 adults in the US consume more sodium than is recommended [1]. The findings are laid out in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on February 7, 2012.

The estimates of salt intake from 7227 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2007–2008 show that the mean daily intake of sodium is 3266 mg. Daily guidelines for maximum sodium consumption are 2300 mg among the general population and 1500 mg for specific, high-risk populations, such as African Americans and those with hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.

The survey shows that 44% of sodium consumed came from 10 food categories: bread, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta mixed dishes, meat mixed dishes, and savory snacks. More than 70% of the sodium eaten came from goods obtained at a store.

The findings "reinforce the importance of implementing strategies to reduce US sodium intake," states the report.

"Nationwide, food manufacturers and restaurants can strive to reduce excess sodium added to foods before purchase. States and localities can implement policies to reduce sodium in foods served in institutional settings."

And clinicians can counsel most patients to check food labels and select foods lower in sodium, the report urges.

It adds that reducing the sodium content of the 10 leading sources by one-quarter would reduce total dietary sodium by more than 10%, preventing an estimated 28 000 deaths and $7 billion in healthcare expenditures annually.

Federal agencies in the US are currently considering whether they should implement stricter standards for the amount of salt that food manufacturers, restaurants, and food-service companies can add to their products, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine in 2010, along the lines of similar policies that have been successfully implemented in other countries, such as the UK.


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