February 8, 2012
Americans Consume Too Much Sodium, Bread One Big Culprit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Americans are consuming too much sodium these days.
According to the report, Americans are consuming around 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, excluding added salt at the table. And most of the sodium is coming from common items bought at the grocery store and restaurants.
The CDC suggests that Americans should consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day and 6 in 10 people should only consume 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Those included on the reduced intake list include people 51 years of age or older, people with high blood pressure, diabetics, those suffering from chronic kidney disease and African Americans.
Sodium in excess has health risks, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, “Too much sodium raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated $273 billion in health care costs.”
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor from Fox News lays out the risks to peoples health, saying, “A high sodium diet makes it more difficult for you to lose weight. As we get older, a high-sodium diet is less and less tolerated because our kidneys begin to slow down as we age, and the kidneys are the organs responsible for the removal of excess sodium. That is why we tend to link a high-sodium diet with high blood pressure.”
Dr. Alvarez even warns pregnant women to not ingest too much sodium, because their kidneys are already working overtime because of the added physiological stress caused by the fetus.
The sources of sodium consumed by Americans may surprise some. There are foods you may not expect to be at the top of the list. The top 10 sources of sodium are breads and rolls, cold cuts, pizza, poultry because they inject sodium into poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes like meat loaf, and savory snacks such as pretzels or potato chips.
One slice of bread by itself only contains about 80 milligrams of sodium but eaten as toast in the morning, then as a cold-cut sandwich for lunch the numbers start to add up.
Reducing sodium can be a challenge but can be done. It all boils down to the food choices that are made. The CDC suggests consumers make the choice at the restaurant to tell the waiter to cut the amount of sodium, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables without sauces, limit processed foods high in sodium, and read the Nutrition Facts label in order to count the amount of sodium ingested.
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