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[A Longer Life] Hold the Salt! The Top Ten Sources of Sodium in Your Diet, and Number One is . . . Bread!?

By — One of many Food blogs on

When I’m eating dinner at home or going out to eat with friends, I almost never touch the salt shaker, and it’s not just because I’m more of a pepper guy, it’s because I know how much sodium is already found in the foods I eat. What I didn’t realize, however, was just where most of my salt intake is actually coming from. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a report that pinpoints the top ten sources of sodium, found in everyday foods we consume on a regular basis. Surprisingly, potato chips and other salty snacks ranked below bread and rolls, the largest source of salt in our diets, according to the CDC report.

The following top ten list of foods account for nearly half of our daily salt intake:

  1. Bread and rolls (responsible for 7.4% of daily sodium intake)
  2. Cold cuts and cured meats (5.1%)
  3. Pizza (4.9%)
  4. Poultry (4.5%)
  5. Soups (4.3%)
  6. Sandwiches and burgers (4%)
  7. Cheese (3.8%)
  8. Pasta and spaghetti dishes (3.3%)
  9. Meat dishes such as meatloaf (3.2%)
  10. Processed snack foods, including pretzels, chips, and popcorn (3.1%)

If there’s a sliver-lining, I suppose it may be that we as Americans are consuming more bread and trying to eat more whole grains – and, as a result, absorbing more sodium through these foods, rather than from Fritos and cheese puffs. Remember too, that when salt-per-serving is examined, bread is not number one, it’s only high on the list above, because we tend to eat more servings of bread and rolls, than we do snack foods, so don’t stop eating bread (especially those tasty loaves of whole grain bread)

How Much Salt is Too Much?

Nearly 9 out of 10 Americans are eating too much salt, which increases the risk of developing hypertension, a strong risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Vascular diseases like stroke, lead to the death of 800,000 people in the U.S. on an annual basis. This statistic alarmed me, and left me wondering just how much salt is too much in a day.


I discovered that the recommended daily limit set by the government is 2,300 mg, but that the average American’s sodium intake is a whopping 3,266 mg per day, greatly exceeding the suggested daily limit.

About 50% of the U.S. population -- people over 51, African Americans, and those with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes, are recommended to take-in even less sodium, with a suggested daily limit of 1,500 mg.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake

Here are several simple steps you can take to curb your sodium consumption, and subsequently decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, by preventing the development of hypertension:

Photo Credit:

bootload and Traverse Gourmet


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