According to a more recent study conducted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, packaged foods that we buy out of grocery stores surpass the amount of salt recommended by federal guidelines.
The CDC was investigating the health issues related to a common health problem: high blood pressure, which is more common in some particular areas of the U.S. Salt has been a known trigger for this condition, but researchers are still unsure about the significant role geography plays in hypertension.
That’s why CDC investigators wanted to test the salt levels in packaged foods to see how they vary depending on location. There was no connection between these two factors, but instead, they encountered excess salt levels in many packaged foods. Researchers analyzed three regions — states of the Pacific, south Atlantic, and east north central regions.
Dishes containing meats and pasta tested the highest in the matter of salt content; a surprising 80 percent of the examined samples were found to exceed healthy dietary guidelines. Next on the list were pizzas, with 70 percent containing way too much salt, closely seconded by soups, with 60 percent.
CDC has also mentioned in the study that 77 percent of the American intake of sodium comes from prepackaged foods and restaurants. Excluding the salt you add in a meal while eating it, the agency found that the average daily consumption of sodium is 3,500 milligrams (mg) – exceeding the 2,300 mg recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.
CDC officials stated that about 6 in 10 adults would benefit from limiting their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day – including those who know they have high blood pressure and those over the age of 51.
For cheeses, savory snacks and breads, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a special “healthy” award if they contain 480 mg of sodium per serving. The same recognition can be earned by mixed pasta and meat, and sandwiches if they keep the sodium concentrations lower than 600 mg per serving.
If you’re wondering why processed foods tested so high in salt levels, it’s because high concentrations of salt are known to minimize spoilage and reduce growth of bacteria. White bread was the “gold winner” in the category of “greatest contributor to sodium intake” by Americans.
The CDC report showed that regional differences were not linked as direct contributors. However, there are some variations that relate to specific types of products originating in certain areas, within a food category. There were some areas of the U.S. that seemed to enjoy salty processed foods more than others.
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