Salt Out of Our Diet

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Ways to cut back on too much salt in your diet. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Salt Out of Our Diet

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Reduce Salt in Your Diet

Skip the shaker and you may still get way too much sodium. Here’s why.

You already know that limiting the amount of salt you add to your plate is a good idea. Unfortunately, 80 percent of the sodium we consume comes from restaurant meals and packaged foods. “As a result, the average American’s diet contains two to three times the FDA’s recommended limit of 1,500 mg to 2,400 mg a day,” says Stephen Havas, M.D., of the American Medical Association (AMA). And experts estimate that excess sodium kills 150,000 people yearly, which is why the AMA now wants to add warning labels to foods high in sodium. Here’s what you must know to shake the sodium habit.
Even If You Don’t Add Salt to Your Meals, You Need to Keep Tabs on Your Intake

Sodium acts as a flavor enhancer, and many canned, frozen, and other processed foods are full of it, says Havas. Plus, many chefs cook with processed foods and then add more salt. “A typical fast-food meal can contain up to 5,000 mg of sodium — more than double the daily recommended limit,” adds Edward J. Roccella, Ph.D., of the National Heart,Lung, and Blood Institute. Asian food is a big offender, thanks to MSG (a sodium-rich food additive) and soy sauce. Another culprit: pizza. Cheese is high in salt, and meat toppings, such as Canadian bacon and sausage, often contain high-sodium preservatives called sodium nitrites. When you order, ask for half the cheese and more veggie toppings. And no matter where you’re dining, ask your waiter about low-sodium options.

Learn more.

Dietary Guidelines (.pdf)