Five foods add a lot of salt to U.S. diet

July 5, 2011 at 1:24 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif., July 5 (UPI) -- Too little salt can cause fatigue, dehydration and hyperthyroidism but most Americans eat too much salt, a food industry analyst says.

Phil Lempert -- creator of the Web site supermarket guru.com -- says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates nine out of 10 Americans consume far beyond the recommended intake of sodium every day, mainly in processed and restaurant foods. U.S. dietary guidelines suggest adults consume 2,300 milligrams or less of sodium daily, but 70 percent of the population -- the middle aged, elderly, or African-Americans -- should consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.

Most food contributes to daily sodium consumption, but 77 percent of salt consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods while only about 10 percent comes from the salt shaker, Lempert says.

The CDC says five foods may contribute the most sodium to the U.S. diet:

-- Yeast breads contribute to a large amount of our sodium intake.

-- Chicken and mixed chicken dinners. Restaurants and prepackaged chicken meals contain salt as well thanks to the sauces, seasonings and the side dishes.

-- Pizza dough, which in essence a yeast bread, gets that super savory taste from salt.

-- Pasta dishes, for the same reasons as chicken dinners and pizza, consumers get a big dose of sodium.

-- Deli meats contribute significantly to our daily sodium intake.

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