Sodium Content Too High in Over Half of Packaged Foods

(HealthDay News) — More than half of packaged grocery store foods included in a new study contained too much added salt, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. The report was published April 2 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Linda Schieb, MSPH, an epidemiologist in the division of heart disease and stroke prevention at the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed product sales from 2009 for U.S. grocery stores from 52 markets in three of nine U.S. census divisions, which represents about half the country’s population. The researchers didn’t include warehouse stores or Walmart.

The investigators found that more than 70% of pizza, pasta mixed dishes, or meat mixed dishes (such as meat loaf or pork with BBQ sauce), as well as 50–70% of cold cuts, soups, and sandwiches surpassed the FDA “healthy” labeling standards for sodium. But only 10% of breads, savory snacks, and cheese exceeded the healthy label guidelines, according to the report.

The researchers didn’t find any significant differences between the markets studied with regard to sodium content in foods. “The majority of our sodium comes from restaurant food and processed food,” Schieb told HealthDay. Both sources can be loaded with sodium. “So it’s important to read the labels and choose lower sodium options.”

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