Americans Are Eating Too Much Salt, Processed Foods And Restaurants Are Blamed

Salt and Processed Foods

Experts have been practically begging food manufacturers to cut back on the amount of salt they put in their products. Despite those requests, processed food manufacturers and restaurants continue to push high levels of sodium onto their customers.

A recent study finds that sodium content in processed foods declined by 3.5 percent; however, fast food sodium levels increased by 2.6 percent. Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine note that the changes are so small they may have occurred by chance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American has a salt intake level of 2,300 milligrams per day. The CDC recommends that salt intake should be cut by 50 percent in order to ensure proper health.

While many Americans may believe that simply throwing out the salt shaker is good enough, the truth of the matter is that most of our salt arrives by way of processed and fast foods.

The new study suggests that the food industry doesn’t want to change, and, therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take steps to reduce sodium levels on behalf of consumers.

So what foods are the worst offenders? Researchers point to smoked bacon (1,803mg of sodium per 100-grams) and Caesar salad dressing, which offers 1,079mg. Hot dogs are also packed full of salt with 927mg of sodium per hot dog.

If you think you are doing yourself any favors by eating chicken strips instead of a burger, the study finds that fast food meals with chicken and fries can still push out 1,239mg of salt.

Fast food diners may also want to choose certain chains to eat at. For example, Burger King french fries (medium size) have 670mg while a medium McDonald’s fries features just 270mg per 100 grams served.

Consumers can help reduce their sodium intake by looking for salt-free and low-sodium labels on food products.

While sodium levels remain high in our processed and fast foods, a new study suggests that cutting back salt might have no effects on our health.

Are you careful with your own sodium levels?

[Image via JJ Harrison / Wikipedia]