Local News

Shake The Salt Habit: Sodium Lurking In Many Foods

Posted August 11, 2003

— Do you salt food before tasting it?

Most people eat the equivalent of two to three tablespoons of salt per day. That is double and triple the amount they should be eating, according to WRAL Health Team Nutritionist Lynn Hoggard.

"We acquire a taste for salt in out diets. The more we eat, the more we want. Over time, we get the point where we're tasting the salt more than we are the food," Hoggard said.

The more processed food is, the more sodium it contains.

"A fresh ear of corn contains 20 milligrams of sodium. When it is frozen, it contains about 55 milligrams of sodium. Canned corn contains 220 milligrams of sodium for the same quantity of food," Hoggard said.

Frozen prepared meals, even low-fat ones, tend to be loaded with salt.

Foods labeled as "healthy" must meet Food and Drug Administration guidelines for sodium: no more than 480 milligrams for soup and 600 milligrams of sodium for frozen dinners.

For those looking to shake the salt habit, Hoggard suggests gradually reducing sodium intake.

"It's amazing. After two to three weeks how the food they ate originally now tastes salty," she said.

For healthy people, experts suggest eating no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. For people with hypertension and other health problems, doctors usually set the number much lower.


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