Too Much Salt?

June 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The average American eats almost double the recommended amount of sodium every day, which is 2,400 milligrams. Too much sodium can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. Now, some want the FDA to cut the salt in the foods we buy.What's your salt IQ?

Which has more sodium: A McDonald's hamburger or a medium order of fries?

The burger has 520 milligrams of sodium, but the fries -- just 220!

Let's try again. A Subway six-inch turkey and ham or Filet of Fish sandwich?

The sub has almost twice as much sodium as the fish sandwich!

Ok, one more. Which has more sodium: a one ounce bag of potato chips or a Wendy's Baconator?

It's the burger! You'd have to eat more than ten one ounce bags of chips to get as much sodium as that one sandwich.

"Most of our salt intake that we get in is actually from processed foods and from the restaurants that we go to and the fast food. You wouldn't believe all the salt they pack all that in there." Melissa Scheff, R.D., L.D., a dietitian at St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital in Savannah, Ga.

Now, some consumer groups are pressuring the FDA to limit the sodium content in the food we buy. Should they do it? Registered dietitian Melissa Scheff says no.

"The government comes in and tries to tell us how much salt we can eat, I think people are just going to say, 'Forget that. I'm just going to add more salt to the food when it comes out,'" Scheff says.

Joy Cornthwaite, R.D., M.S., L.D., a dietitian at St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital disagrees.

"Because the FDA has a responsibility to protect the American population, I think it's time," Cornthwaite says.

The American Medical Association says cutting our salt consumption in half could save 150,000 lives a year. Whether it's your decision or the government's, experts agree it's time to start thinking about how much salt you're really eating.

"Too much of anything is a bad thing," Scheff says.

For people with high blood pressure, the recommended daily allowance for salt is about 1,500 milligrams. But consumer groups say the average American eats around 4,000 milligrams of sodium a day.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
St. Joseph's/Candler CareCall Hotline
Savannah, GA
(912) 819-3360


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