Americans are consuming way too much salt in their diets and getting most of their daily sodium from processed and restaurant foods.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted between 2013 and 2014, Americans are consuming 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, far more than the recommended allowance.
The CDC recommends that individuals consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily and that people aged 51 and over and African Americans limit their intake to 1,500 mg. As a point of reference, a McDonald’s Big Mac contains 960 mg of sodium.
Thus far in 2017, people have limited their consumption of soda, red meat, and other unhealthy foods, yet they have become less attentive to their sodium intake. A lower percentage of people are actively seeking to reduce salt in their diets, falling from 46 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2015 after remaining somewhat steady for the previous decade. More than a third of people make a point to include salt in their diets.
Salty snacks are regarded by many Americans as “comfort food” with 62 percent of people eating salty snacks to relieve stress. According to market researcher Mintel, only 16 percent of people claimed the same one year ago.
“Consumers are looking for ways to manage their well-being, and the impact of food on emotional and mental health is becoming more important,” said Amanda Topper, associate director of foodservice research at Mintel. Sales of salty snacks have risen 29 percent over the last five years to $10.2 billion in 2015, with sales projected to increase an additional 22 percent to $12.4 billion in 2020.
Research also revealed that nearly 9 in 10 children in the United States consume more sodium than recommended and about 1 in 6 children have elevated blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Americans get more than 75 percent of their daily salt intake from processed and restaurant foods that are high in sodium. The CDC recommends cooking your own food and avoiding pre-made sauces or meals.
The CDC notes that “[t]ogether, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.”
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