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Most Americans Get Too Much Salt
Date:6/24/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Ninety percent of Americans are eating more salt than they should, a new government report reveals.

In fact, salt is so pervasive in the food supply it's difficult for most people to consume less. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure, which is major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

"Nine in 10 American adults consume more salt than is recommended," said report co-author Dr. Elena V. Kuklina, an epidemiologist in the Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.

Kuklina noted that most of the salt Americans consume comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker on the table. You can control the salt in the shaker, but not the sodium added to processed foods, she said.

"The foods we eat most, grains and meats, contain the most sodium," Kuklina said. These foods may not even taste salty, she added.

Grains include highly processed foods high in sodium such as grain-based frozen meals and soups and breads. The amount of salt from meats was higher than expected, since the category included luncheon meats and sausages, according to the CDC report.

Because salt is so ubiquitous, it is almost impossible for individuals to control, Kuklina said. It will really take a large public health effort to get food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of salt used in foods they make, she said.

This is a public health problem that will take years to solve, Kuklina said. "It's not going to happen tomorrow," she stressed.

"The American food supply is, in a word, salty," agreed Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. "Roughly 80 percent of the sodium we consume comes not from our own salt shakers, but from additions made by the food industry. The result of that is an average ex
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