The average person consumes about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, not including any salt added at the table, which is more than twice the recommended limit for about half of Americans, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of that sodium comes from common restaurant or grocery store items. The CDC's latest Vital Signs report found that 65 percent of sodium comes from grocery store foods, while 25 percent comes from restaurants meals.
10 foods responsible for more than 40 percent of your sodium intake:
- Bread and rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Pasta mixed dishes
- Meat mixed dishes
- Savory snacks.
Excessive sodium consumption raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation's first and fourth leading causes of death. 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, according to the CDC.
We recently reported about how nearly 7,000 consumers joined Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, in a petition supporting regulatory efforts to set national, industry-wide targets to reduce sodium in processed and restaurant foods.
"Many American consumers are seeking a sensible solution to the growing levels of sodium in processed and restaurant foods," said Ioana Rusu, regulatory counsel for Consumers Union. "Unfortunately, the answer is not simply to put down the saltshaker, since an overwhelming majority of sodium intake comes from processed, pre-packaged foods."