Health scare of the week: Hidden salt in processed foods
Ten processed foods are responsible for 44 percent of the sodium in our diets, and bread tops the list.
As many as nine out of 10 Americans eat far too much salt, which can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Those trying to eat less sodium might be surprised to learn where it’s all coming from, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten processed foods are responsible for 44 percent of the sodium in our diets, and bread tops the list, likely because we eat more of it than we do recognizably salty snacks like chips. Lunch meats, pizza, and soups also make it easy “to eat a whole bunch of sodium without it seeming salty,” Penn State food scientist John Hayes tells the Associated Press. On average, Americans consume 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day—1,000 more than what is recommended for most people and more than double what African-Americans, people over the age of 50, and other groups at risk of high blood pressure should ingest. Experts say reading labels to find low-sodium products is crucial. Depending on the brand, a slice of white bread can contain anywhere between 80 and 230 mg of salt, and a cup of canned chicken-noodle soup between 100 and 940 mg.