It’s American Heart Month (some sort of Valentine’s-related synergy, we suppose) so the Centers for Disease Control has issued its latest report on how much sodium — a big contributor to high blood pressure — we’re eating and where we’re getting it from.
Not surprisingly, the biggest source of sodium in most diets is from bread and rolls, which aren’t wildly high in sodium but make up a substantial portion of what we eat every day.
Interestingly enough, according to Dept. of Agriculture numbers included in the CDC report, the 50-200 mg of sodium in a 1 oz. serving of plain potato chips may be less than the 80-230 mg of sodium in a single slice of white bread.
Of course, very few people eat just one slice of white bread and one ounce of potato chips is just the beginning of a snack for some folks. And it also depends on the particular brands you buy. A thinner slice of bread will likely have less sodium by sheer virtue of being smaller. And flavored chips will likely mean an increase in sodium over the plain variety.
Also of note from the CDC report:
* About 65% of sodium eaten comes from food bought at retail stores. Another 25% comes from restaurant food.
* Different brands of the same foods may have different sodium levels. For example, sodium in chicken noodle soup can vary by as much as 840 mg per serving.
* Much of the raw chicken and pork bought from a store has been injected with a sodium solution.
* Foods that are often marketed as healthy (turkey and chicken breasts, cottage cheese) can be very high in sodium.
* Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1,200 mg per day on average could save up to $20 billion a year in medical costs.
Where’s the sodium? [CDC]