Bread and rolls, not chips and pretzels, are the No. 1 source of salt in the American diet, according to a federal study.
Fresh chicken and turkey, which is sometimes injected with saline, is also high on the list of foods that add salt in the average American's diet, as are pizza, pasta and cold cuts, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report.
"Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn — which we think of as the saltiest foods in our diet — are only No. 10" on the list, The Associated Press quoted CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden as saying.
The news service added that:
Breads and rolls aren't really saltier than many of the other foods, but people tend to eat a lot of them, said Mary Cogswell, a CDC senior scientist who co-authored the report.
Nine out of 10 Americans reportedly get too much sodium (salt) in their diet.
The New York Daily News cites health watchdogs as warned that no one should eat more than a teaspoon of salt — 2,300 milligrams from food or a shaker — a day.
Average sodium consumption in the U.S. is around 3,300 milligrams, the CDC study found.
Too much salt in the diet can lead, or exacerbate, heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure.
Director of Cardiology Research at Baystate Medical Center Gregory Giuliano told 22News, meantime, that: "When we talk about regulating salt intake, it's not just grabbing the salt shaker and pouring that on top of your food. You have to be aware that there's hidden salt content in a lot of other foods like breads, pastas, pizza, cold cuts."
Karen Congro, a nutritionist at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, told the Daily News that her patients were often stunned to learn those foods have salt.
"They tell me, I’m buying the low-sodium turkey breast and that’s a good thing," she said. "But then you top that with cheese, which has sodium, and bread that has sodium — and that’s a lot of salt in a sandwich."
According to the AP, the amount of sodium in food types can vary.
For example, a slice of white bread can have between 80 and 230 milligrams of sodium. A cup of canned chicken noodle soup has between 100 and 940 milligrams and 3 ounces of luncheon meat has between 450 and 1,050 milligrams. A small 1 ounce bag of potato chips ranges from 50 to 200 milligrams.