It’s no news that we’re a nation of salt and sugar. Whatever makes our food taste better, right? Even without adding salts to our foods there are ridiculous amounts of sodium in everything we eat, to include children’s cereals. The soft drinks we drink are filled with sodium, that’s where the name “Soda” is derived from. Have you ever watched employees salt the french fries at your favorite fast food restaurant? You probably don’t realize just how much salt your consuming a day.
According to a study published by MSN Health in association with Healthday.com, we (Americans) are consuming 50% more salt than we did in the 1970’s. 50 percent! That’s a ridiculous increase and obviously blood pressure is going to be a problem in this case.
“We found that very small reductions in salt intake would have very large health benefits in the U.S. population,” said lead researcher Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Currently, Americans consume 9 grams to 12 grams of salt a day, with much of it coming from processed foods. This total is far more salt than is recommended by many health organizations, which say you should only have 5 grams to 6 grams a day, Bibbins-Domingo said.
Furthermore the study showed that African-Americans can benefit even more by cutting their salt intake because their bodies are genetically more sensitive to salt.
So how can you decrease your salt intake? It’s not easy as eating healthy never really is easy or convenient. You can start by reducing your processed foods intake. A lot of shelf stable foods use salts as preservatives, as well as processed meats and even sweet snacks. Obviously fast food and potato chips are big contributors to your salt intake, so decreasing or totally cutting them from your diet would make a huge difference.
Next time you grab a a soda, especially a diet soda, some potato chips and even pretzels, look at the nutritional facts and serving size and calculate how much salt and/or sodium you are consuming in a day’s diet.