The Salt Hiding in Your Diet

Even Your Taste Buds May Not Know: Culprits Include Cereal, Sliced Bread and Roast Chicken (but Not Chocolate).

(Wall Street Journal) — Nearly 90% of adults consume more salt than U.S. dietary guidelines recommend. Now, federal officials are considering making those guidelines even tougher to follow.

Eating too much sodium, a key component of salt, can contribute to high blood pressure, a major risk for most people as they age because it can lead to heart disease and other health problems. But cutting sodium from the diet is difficult, mainly because people often don’t know it’s there. More than three-quarters of the sodium people consume comes from processed and restaurant foods. And much of the sodium we eat is in foods that don’t necessarily taste salty, like packaged bread and chicken dishes.

Salt is the latest front in the battle to get Americans to eat a healthier diet. Previous efforts have focused on cutting down on sugar, to fight obesity, and reducing fat, for a healthier heart. After four decades of unsuccessfully nudging Americans to cut salt in their diets only to see them eat more of it, government officials are intensifying their efforts.

An advisory committee working on new U.S. Dietary Guidelines, due to be released later this year by the federal government, recently recommended that all adults restrict their intake of sodium to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day, equivalent to about two-thirds of a teaspoon of table salt, down from a current limit of 2,300 mgs for some people. For many, that wouldn’t represent a change. The dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years, currently suggest a limit of 1,500 mgs for people with hypertension, anyone over 40 years old and African-Americans, who are at greater risk for high blood pressure—a group that represents about 70% of all adults.

Today, adults consume more than 3,400 mgs of sodium on average, not including salt they use in cooking or sprinkle on food from a shaker, more than twice the amount recommended for most people, according to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Middle-aged men are eating on average about 54% more salt today than in the early 1970s; for women, consumption has jumped 67% in that time.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...