Processed store-bought and restaurant foods are the biggest source of sodium in the US diet because they typically have added salt to increase flavor and prolong shelf-life. Bread and rolls account for the most consumed sources of sodium. Other common sources include deli meats, pizza, poultry, and cheese. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) 2010 dietary guidelines recommend a daily limit of about 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is equivalent to approximately one teaspoon (4.93 ml) of table salt. It is estimated, however, that the average American consumes nearly 40% more than the recommendation.
More about Americans and sodium intake:
- Chips, pretzels, and other items typically categorized as “salty snacks” are actually only the 10th highest source of sodium in the average American diet.
- The American government’s 2010 dietary guidelines found that only about 10% of total consumed salt is actually added by diners to food before eating.
- Sodium is necessary for bodily functions, including muscle movement, nerve transmittal and fluid maintenance, but excessive intake may raise blood pressure and potentially lead to kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, or heart failure.