Where’s the salt?
Click here to discover how much is in your food and its effect on your health. (It will not read what you see on this image →)
Did you know that on average, most Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. That’s more than double the recommended amount for most people. A diet high in sodium can increase your blood pressure and your chances of heart disease and stroke. Take this quiz to learn more about salt and your health.
- The words salt and sodium are not exactly the same.
The words “salt” and “sodium” are not exactly the same, yet these words are often used in place of each other. For example, the Nutrition Facts panel uses “sodium,” whereas the front of the package may say “low salt.” A major component of salt is made up of sodium and chloride.
- Most of the salt we eat is added to our foods from the salt shaker during cooking or during a meal.
Only a small portion is used during cooking or at the table, and the rest occurs naturally in foods. About 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes from processed and restaurant foods.
- Canned vegetables such as green beans, corn, and tomatoes have more salt per serving than fresh or frozen vegetables.
Canned vegetables have more salt than freshly prepared or frozen vegetables unless you choose foods with “no salt added”.
- A muffin can have more salt than a bag of potato chips.
A muffin may contain more salt than a bag of potato chips. Salt content in the foods we eat vary greatly within the same or similar food type. Find out the amount of salt in your foods and choose the ones with lower salt.
- Foods can have high salt content and not even taste salty.
Salt is hidden in foods that you might not expect, including salad dressings, cheeses, pasta sauces, breads, tomato juices, and condiments.
- Everyone should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that the general population should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of table salt).
- People who have high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
People who have high blood pressure, blacks, and people older than age 40 are in population groups that should consume no more than 1,500 mg/day. This represents about 70 percent of American adults.
- Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can reduce your blood pressure.
Reducing salt intake improves blood pressure and can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke - even for people who have normal blood pressure.
- When you lower your salt intake, your blood pressure can drop in a matter of years.
Blood pressure can respond to lower sodium intake within weeks.
- You can lower your salt intake by comparing food labels during shopping and choosing foods lower in salt.
There are many things you can do to lower your salt intake – know your daily recommended sodium limits, choose fresh fruits and vegetables, read food labels and purchase foods that are low in salt, and ask for foods with no or low salt at restaurants.
Thank you for talking the Sodium Intake Quiz.
To reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke—
- Know your recommended limits for daily sodium intake.
- Choose foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Read the nutrition facts panel of the foods you purchase and purchase foods that are low in sodium.
- Ask for foods with no or low salt at restaurants.
For more information about salt and your health, visit www.cdc.gov/salt.