A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that nearly all individuals in the U.S. consume too much sodium than the recommended daily allowance (RDA). The majority of the sodium derives from common grocery store and restaurant items. The report is published on the first Tuesday of the month, as part of the CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

10 types of foods make up for over 40% of individual’s sodium intake, according to the latest Vital Signs reports. The most common sources are:

  • poultry
  • soups
  • cheeseburgers and other sandwiches
  • meat dishes, such as meat loaf
  • breads and rolls
  • luncheon meat, such as turkey or deli ham
  • pizza
  • cheese
  • snack foods, such as, popcorn, potato chips and pretzels
  • pasta dishes

Although one serving of certain foods, such as bread, are not high in sodium, when consumed several times per day, they add up to a lot of sodium.

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., explained:

“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.”

Findings from the study reveal that the average person consumes approximately 3,300 milligrams of sodium each day, not including any salt added at the table. This figure is over two times the RDA for approximately half of all individual’s in the U.S., and 6 in 10 adults.

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, individuals should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. While individual’s aged 51+, and those with hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, and African Americans should consume 1,500 milligrams per day.

Highlights from the study:

  • 10 foods are responsible for 44% of individual’s sodium intake per day
  • 25% of sodium comes from restaurant foods
  • 65% comes from grocery store products
  • an estimated 28,000 deaths could be potentially prevented each year by reducing the sodium content of the 10 leading sodium sources by 25%. In addition, a reduction of 25% would lower total dietary sodium by over 10%.

As so many foods today contain sodium, it can be difficult to lower daily sodium intake. Individuals who limit the amount of processed foods with added sodium, and consume a diet rich in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce, can reduce their daily sodium intake. Furthermore, people can look at grocery food labels and select the products containing the lowest amount of sodium.

Dr. Frieden, said:

“We’re encouraged that some food manufacturers are already taking steps to reduce sodium. Kraft Foods has committed to an average 10 percent reduction of sodium in their products over a two year period, and dozens of companies have joined a national initiative to reduce sodium. The leading supplier of cheese for pizza, Leprino Foods, is actively working on providing customers and consumers with healthier options. We are confident that more manufacturers will do the same.”

The CDC reports includes the latest data and information on vital health indicators, including obesity, cancer prevention, motor vehicle passenger safety, tobacco use, HIV/AIDS, alcohol consumption, teen pregnancy, food safety, prescription drug overdose, asthma, cardiovascular health, and health care-associated infections.

Click here to find out more ways to reduce sodium intake.

For more information on heart disease and stroke, click here. In addition, reducing sodium is a vital component of the Million Hearts initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. To learn how to reduce sodium using the DASH eating plan, click here.

Written by Grace Rattue