Salty Culprits You Won’t Suspect

The body cannot function without salt; however, too much salt is dangerous to our health. Finding that fine line between too salty and just enough is important, but foods can be deceiving; there are some unsuspected culprits in our diets that may be causing you to reach your salt limits.

Too Salty?

The body only needs a small amount of sodium per day to function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the average American has more than 3,300 mg of salt every day while the dietary guidelines only recommend 2,300 mg per day for healthy individuals or 1,500 mg or less if you are at risk for heart-disease. What will a few mg per day do? A recent study performed in 2012, indicated that for every 500 mg of salt you consume over 1,500 mg daily, you increase your risk for stroke by 17 percent. So, if you are consuming over 3,000 mg of sodium, you are increasing your risk for stroke by 51 percent! A diet high in salt also increases your risk for other health problems such as kidney disease, stomach cancer, and calcium bone loss which could lead to osteoporosis.

The Heavy Contributors

Processed foods contribute about 65 percent of the average American’s salt intake followed with 25 percent from restaurant meals. Other top offenders are fast food, soy sauce, salad dressings, deli meats, canned soup, and pizza. Also, foods advertised to be low in fat are often high in salt. The reason they have such a high sodium content is to make up for the flavor loss resulting from the low fat content. What it comes down to is reading labels and looking for natural low-sodium alternatives. Here are some salty foods to watch out for in your diet.

Cottage Cheese

One cup of this high protein food packs 750 mg of sodium along with it. Try alternatives such as Greek yogurt; it’s high in protein and low in sodium.


This lean meat, along with other meats like pork and turkey, is often injected with saltwater or broth during processing. This adds over three times the amount of sodium as plain chicken would. Instead, try fish which is naturally lower in sodium and provides necessary omega-3 fats, or compare chicken packages to determine the lowest sodium content.

Peanut Butter

Deliciously salty, a better choice would be unsalted peanut butter or even almond butter.

Instant Oatmeal

High in sugar and salt, uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats are sodium-free and only take a few extra minutes to cook.

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