Almost All American Kids Are Eating Too Much Salt. By David Beasley. huffingtonpost.com. September 09, 2014. American kids are eating far too much salt, mostly from processed foods sold in stores, putting them at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease later in life, federal health officials said on Tuesday. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 90 percent of American children ages 6 to 18 consume too much sodium daily.
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Those children eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium daily even before salt is added at the table, according to the CDC study based on national surveys in 2009 and 2010. That exceeds dietary guidelines calling for less than 2,300 mg per day.
The CDC noted that one in six young Americans already has elevated blood pressure – a condition closely linked to high sodium intake and obesity that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
The report found that 43 percent of the sodium came from 10 popular types of foods, including pizza, sandwiches like cheeseburgers, cold cuts and cured meats, pasta with sauce, cheese, salty snacks like potato chips, chicken nuggets and patties, tacos and burritos, bread and soup.
"Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. "Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems."
Dinner was the largest single source of sodium, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the daily intake, the study found.
The report said 65 percent of the sodium intake came from foods purchased in stores, with most of the sodium already in the products when purchased. Fast food restaurants including pizza places accounted for another 13 percent, the CDC said.
Meals offered at school accounted for 9 percent of total sodium consumption.
Teenagers ate more sodium than younger children, according to the study that drew from interviews with more than 2,000 school-aged children.
The study found a need to reduce sodium "across multiple foods, venues and eating occasions," the CDC researchers said. In particular, processed foods should have less sodium, the researchers said, citing efforts in Britain that reduced total sodium consumption by 15 percent over seven years. (Editing by Letitia Stein and Will Dunham)
Foods With More Salt Than Chips1. Cereal
You wouldn’t necessarily think of your breakfast cereal as a big source of salt — especially when so many varieties actually taste sweet.
But from puffed corn with 212 mg of sodium per serving to bran flakes with 220 mg to instant oatmeal at 246 mg, that sweet breakfast can pack a surprisingly salty punch.
Not all breads are saltier than a bag of chips, but we tend to eat a lot more bread over all, according to CDC senior scientist Mary Cogswell, who recently authored a report on sodium consumption in the U.S. Depending on the type, a slice can contain anywhere from around 100 mg to more than 200 — and we doubt all your sandwiches are open-faced.
Those slices add up: The CDC report found that bread accounted for more than seven percent of Americans’ total salt intake for the day. (Take a look at the biggest sources of salt in our diet here.)
Bagels, too — even the sweet varieties, like cinnamon-raisin, can have anywhere from 180 to 250 mg of sodium. Flickr photo by juan carlos piola 4. Coffee Drinks
If you already opt for low- or non-fat milk or natural sweeteners in your coffee, you’re off to a good start in making that morning joe a healthy habit. But if you’re into fancy blended treats from speciality coffee shops, you could be slurping down hidden sodium.
While we totally get the sweet-and-salty thing, the salted caramel trend is more than just delicious; one drink has nearly 300 mg of sodium and others (that don’t have "salt" in their names) can still have more than 200.
While we’d all love to eat the freshest, just-picked produce around, it’s not always possible to find your favorites at the right price. Canned vegetables, especially if packaged right after being harvested, can still be a healthy choice — except when the cans are loaded with salt.
Depending on the brand and the vegetable, a one-cup serving can run from 240 mg to 800 mg of sodium, which is added to canned produce to prolong shelf life.
Look for canned veggies without any added salt, or try a frozen variety of your favorite produce. You can also give the veggies a good rinse before cooking or eating.
A serving of ketchup is just one tablespoon. Picture that for a minute — it’s about half a golfball.
Depending on your dipping habits, that might not go such a far way. But where that half-golfball of ketchup does go pretty far is in terms of sodium content. Just one tablespoon packs 167 mg of sodium, or seven percent of your daily recommended upper limit. Squeeze too much more on your plate and it could really add up.
A similar amount of mustard clocks in at around 150 mg of sodium.
Hot sauce, however, can be even worse (although admittedly most people use less). But keep in mind that just one teaspoon packs 119 mg of sodium, so you might want to take it easy on the heat.
The right bowl of soup can actually trim your waistline. A 2007 study found that people who start a meal with a veggie-based soup consume 20 percent fewer calories over the course of a meal.
But aside from the fact that cream-based soups will tack on added calories and fat, some of these tasty starters, especially commercially prepared ones, can be sodium bombs. We looked at the nutrition facts for a range of chicken soups. A one-cup serving can range anywhere from 800 to more than 1,600 mg of sodium.
Because they often have less fat than chips and now are often available in appealing whole-wheat, pretzels generally have a healthier rep than other salty snacks. And while some brands truly are low in sodium, calories and fat, others are even saltier than their looked-down-upon cousin, the chip.
Depending on the brand, a one-ounce serving of pretzels can pack up to 440 mg of sodium. Check out the nutrition facts on your favorite brand, and consider opting for an unsalted bag instead.