Feb 7 Nine out of 10 American adults
consume too much salt and the leading culprit is not potato
chips or popcorn but slices of bread and dinner rolls, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
Forty-four percent of salt consumed can be linked to 10
types of foods, CDC said. Bread and rolls lead the list followed
by cold cuts and cured meat, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches,
cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes and snacks such as pretzels
and potato chips.
Bread may not have much salt in a single serving, but when
eaten several times a day can raise daily salt intake. A single
slice of white bread could contain as many as 230 milligrams of
salt, according to the CDC.
High salt intake can raise blood pressure, which can lead
to heart disease and stroke, the CDC said.
The average American consumes 3,266 milligrams of salt
daily, not counting salt added at the table, which is far above
the recommended 2,300 milligrams, the CDC said.
For six out of 10 Americans, including those who are over
age 51 or have high blood pressure or diabetes, 1,500 milligrams
is the recommended daily salt limit.
Even foods that seem healthy such as cottage cheese may be
high in salt, the agency reported. Even raw chicken and pork is
often injected with salt.
The CDC recommended eating more fruits and vegetables and
carefully reading the labels on food products to find those with
the lowest salt content.
"Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the
United States and are largely dependent on the high rate of high
blood pressure," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden told
reporters in a telephone news conference Tuesday.
One in three American adults has high blood pressure, he
"One of the things that is driving blood pressure up is that
most adults in this country eat or drink about twice the amount
of sodium as is recommended," Frieden said. "Most of that extra
sodium comes from common grocery store and restaurant items and
a very small proportion from the salt shaker at the table."
Nearly two-thirds of the salt consumed by Americans is found
in store products, 24.8 percent from restaurants and the
remainder from other sources such as vending machines and the
home salt shaker, the study found.
Salt per calorie of food consumed was much higher at
restaurants than from store-bought food, the CDC said.
Frieden recommended that food producers and restaurants
voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their food. A
25-percent drop in the salt content of the top 10 sodium sources
would save 28,000 lives a year, he added. It would also give
consumers more choice, he said.
"People can choose how much food to add at the table," he
said. "They can't take it out once it's there."
Reuters could not immediately reach a food industry
spokesman for comment on the CDC recommendation that they reduce
the amount of salt in food.
(Editing by Greg McCune)