Don't fear the salt shaker but do fear processed foods, says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In its new report on efforts to decrease average American salt consumption from 3,300 mgs a day to about 1,500 for most adults and 2,300 for low riskers (see explanation below), the CDC reported that a mere 10 types of processed foods contributed to a whopping 44 percent of all of our salt consumption--and they did not include broccoli.
Here they are in order of sodium contribution to our diets:
1. Bread and rolls
2. Luncheon meats
4. Poultry products (such as chicken nuggets and patties)
6. Cheeseburgers and other sandwiches
9. Meat dishes
10 Snack foods like pretzels, chips and popcorn
For those who think that reducing sodium should start with the salt shaker, the CDC officials said, "no way." The home salt shaker — both in the kitchen and at the dining room table — accounts for only 6 percent of our sodium consumption.
When asked if Chicago Public Schools were wise, then, to serve daily processed breaded spicy chicken patties while forbidding CPS cooks and students to ever salt school vegetables, CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden answered with a resounding , no.
"We encourage salting to taste,"Frieden said. "We are not saying to take away the salt shaker, quite the opposite. We want people to have the option of adding salt at the table."
Key points in the Vital Signs Report:
- Ten types of foods account for 44 percent of dietary sodium consumed each day.
- 65 percent of sodium comes from food sold in stores.
- 25 percent of sodium comes from meals purchased in restaurants.
- Reducing the sodium content of the 10 leading sodium sources by 25 percent would lower total dietary sodium by more than 10 percent and could play a role in preventing up to an estimated 28,000 deaths per year.
Should you be consuming 2,300 or 1,500?
According to the CDC: "the recommendation is 1,500 milligrams per day for people aged 51 and older, and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, and African Americans."
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